A young girl’s paranormal gift—or is it a curse?—of sight makes her the target of a murderous madman in Landry’s (Mirror Deep, 2012) shadowy thriller.
Ten-year-old Emma inherited psychic powers from her paternal grandmother, Dottie, including the ability to see into the past and future and have out-of-body experiences. But the craft is a source of shame for her hotheaded father, who has made Emma suppress her skills and speak of them to no one. Her talents don’t stay secret for long, though. When Emma unintentionally sees a serial killer of young girls and reveals herself to him, she becomes his next intended victim. Suspecting something amiss, teacher Christina Tyler contacts her ex-boyfriend, detective Hank Apple, and Emma reluctantly begins to help him on the dangerous case. Landry’s characters are beautifully written, full of subtleties and complications. Emma in particular is superbly drawn—stoic, clever, yet still a child who will curl up with a teddy bear for comfort. Even when overwhelmed by fear, she displays an unassuming strength that makes her seem much older than her years. In fact, her maturity often surpasses that of the squabbling adults around her, especially her disappointing parents; her volatile father and bland mother largely remain unsympathetic even as they attempt to make up for the many years of not supporting their daughter. Emma’s aunt and maternal grandmother step up as dependable advocates for Emma, as do Christina and Hank, but all four are still flawed in their own ways. Christina and Hank find that their feelings for each other are rekindled as they fight to protect Emma’s secret while hunting down the crazed murderer. But go-getter Hank struggles with work-life balance and emotional vulnerability, and bighearted Christina has trouble forgetting a past infidelity, so theirs is a deliciously clumsy stumble toward a relationship. The stakes are high in this dark novel, but the story never feels overdone thanks to Landry’s nimble balancing act between supernatural mystery and stirring character drama.
A gripping, disturbing tale about the importance of love, acceptance and letting kids be kids.