Like her fifth case (Love You More, 2011, etc.), Boston PD Det. Sgt. D.D. Warren’s sixth subordinates her to another woman just as strong as she is, and a lot more interesting.
Back in high school, Randi Menke, Jackie Knowles and Charlene Rosalind Carter Grant were the Three Musketeers, inseparable buddies who’d do anything for each other. Now Randi and Jackie are dead, strangled a year apart on Jan. 21. So as this Jan. 21 approaches, Charlie is naturally terrified that her turn is coming. Accosting D.D. at a crime scene, she announces that she’s marked for death, describes how she’s gone on the run from her job as a small-town police dispatcher and begs her to solve her murder, still several days away. Underlining her peril is a note left at the scene: “Everyone has to die sometime. Be brave.” But something about Charlie’s story doesn’t add up. If she’s so scared that she’s pulled up stakes and high-tailed it to the big city, why hasn’t she changed her name? Instead of being a victim, could she be the vigilante killer of pedophiles D.D.’s squad has been hunting? Or is she both killer and victim? Alternating between the third-person narration of D.D.’s investigation and Charlie’s feverish first-person narrative, and throwing in more subplots showing abused women fighting their abusers, Gardner brings the ingredients to a rolling boil until she’s finally cut Charlie off from her police defenders, disarmed her and backed her into a corner awaiting her killer.
Irresistible high-wire melodrama, though it’s easy to see why D.D. observes, “I think we just fell into a Lifetime movie.”