Four years after faking her own death and vanishing into a wilderness fortress with her lover, professional killer Michael O’Shea, ex–homicide cop Sabrina Vaughn comes out of hiding when a monstrous figure from her past makes her an offer she can’t refuse.
Back when she was Melissa Walker, Sabrina was abducted, tortured, and repeatedly raped by her half brother, Wade Bauer. Thinking that she’d killed him, she and Michael—taking an indefinite leave from FSS, the dark security firm run by his friend Benjamin Shaw’s father, Livingston Shaw—went into hiding deep in Montana. But now she’s flushed out by the news that a serial killer whose M.O. seems an awful lot like Wade’s has claimed a new set of victims in Melissa’s hometown of Yuma, Arizona—and that Melissa’s DNA has been found on one of the bodies. Submitting to a conveniently effective makeover designed to fool several key parties who once knew Melissa, Sabrina returns to Yuma, posing as an FBI agent partnered with the equally phony Church, Livingston Shaw’s “pet sociopath,” to consult with Detective Will Santos, who’d been assigned to Melissa’s case nearly 20 years ago. The killer they’re tracking seems to have been personally trained by Wade—and seems to choose victims who’d miraculously survived some earlier outrage or illness or near-death experience. Baroque plot complications abound and corpses pop up as bountifully as discounted groceries at supermarket displays before Sabrina finally survives her own latest brush with death to put paid for good to Wade—or so it seems—and pluck his murderous successor as if from a galaxy far, far away.
As in her striking debut (Carved in Darkness, 2013), Beaumont ladles on the overwrought prose and tougher-than-thou attitudinizing. None of it is good for you, but you’ll want to read it anyway.