Suspense novelist Regan (Aberration, 2013, etc.) tells the story of a woman victimized by a twisted kidnapper and sexual predator.
At the book’s outset, readers find out that Claire Fletcher was kidnapped on her way to school 10 years ago, when she was 15. In the very next chapter, set in the present, 25-year-old Claire is in a bar, where she seduces off-duty Detective Connor Parks of the Sacramento Police Department, whose own personal and professional life is in shambles. They have a tryst at his apartment, but she quickly leaves so that she can return to her kidnapper before he realizes that she’s missing; she leaves Connor with her family’s address, trying to let them know that she’s still alive. When he finds out about Claire’s true situation, he becomes determined to find her. He gets help from his buddies on the force and from private investigator Mitch Farrell, an old family friend of the Fletchers. Claire was abducted by a twisted man with a dark past. For years, he’s been tying Claire up and brutalizing her—all the while declaring his love for her and telling her that she will come to love him. Eventually, though, she’s allowed a very small amount of freedom—which she uses to her advantage. Her kidnapper is assisted by a young woman named Tiffany, a runaway who sees Claire as a rival. The story effectively toggles between first-person narration (from Claire’s point of view, in captivity) and a third-person perspective, which usually focuses on Connor. Regan’s pacing is a marvel—one moment, she’s lingering on the grotesque, brutal treatment of Claire, and the next, she shifts gears to show Connor’s frantic pursuit of the kidnapper. The latter is truly a monster, and his portrayal will disturb readers’ sleep. Claire, meanwhile, is believably shown to be gutsy and resourceful under conditions that would crush even the toughest people. Tiffany’s minor role becomes a star performance, mixing evil with apparent innocence.
A wonderfully written crime tale that favorably compares to the work of Michael Connelly, James Lee Burke, and Elmore Leonard.