Eighteen-year-old Ashton Keller has spent the last four years of his life in juvie for a murder he did not commit. He returns home looking for justice or maybe just revenge but ends up finding something else completely unexpected.
Willow Lamott is the dark-haired, dark-eyed, white girl he left behind. She is thrilled when blue-eyed, olive-skinned Ashton returns to Gilt Hollow but also deeply hurt that he never responded to any of her letters. Even though their history is tumultuous, the chemistry between them is undeniable. The star-crossed lovers soon find themselves in the middle of a maelstrom of pain and anger that is certain to end only when Ashton returns to prison or someone else ends up dead. Overall, this is an unfortunate example of a promising story ruined by uneven pacing, stereotypical characters, and a predictable plot. While there is definite heat between Ashton and Willow, the repetitive descriptions of their interactions quickly wear thin. The mystery of who really murdered Daniel Turano is similarly flawed. Slow pacing through much of the story is followed by a rushed ending. Where Langdon excels is in her description of place, but the intriguing central Massachusetts small-town setting is not enough to carry the poorly constructed story.
A romantic thriller that fails on both counts. (Romantic thriller. 12-16)