While bed-bound in the hospital, an athletic young woman discovers the gruesome truth about her mother.
This novel, a thriller set in 2018, is well-paced and creative. When Olympics-bound 17-year-old skier Mindy takes a fall on the slopes and brutally breaks her leg, it sets in motion a series of events that will forever change her family as she knows it. Running tests before conducting surgery on the broken leg, the doctors find that Mindy has cancer and will need a stem-cell transplant. When neither of her parents are a match for the procedure, not even genetically, the truth comes out—although in parts, slowly, and ever more incriminatingly. Mindy’s mother, Lauren, is not who she has convinced her family she is, and even Lauren’s sister, a blood-lab technician working for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, is shocked by what comes to light. When the lab finds Mindy’s biological father, who has been living with the assumption that his daughter was kidnapped when his wife was brutally murdered 17 years ago, Lauren will go to great lengths to shield her secret and protect Mindy. The forward motion of the novel is intermittently interrupted by letters exchanged in the early 1990s between Vivian and Liesel, two unknown characters, which serves to heighten the thrill. Although the ending is somewhat predictable, the dialogue often trite, and the emotional exchanges simplistic, the action keeps the reader at attention. Ellison seems to want to shed light on problems of mental health and the terrible consequences that result when the emotional balance is neglected.
An inventive thriller with a horrifying reveal and a happy ending.