Second-novelist Rose (author of the much-publicized, originally self-published Lip Service, 1999) offers a well-crafted study of infidelity, wrapped within the context of a psychothriller.
Thirty-nine-year-old psychotherapist Jordan Sloan has a life of companionable compromise: She lives on the second floor of a brownstone shared with Robert, the husband she separated from five years ago; she begrudgingly accepts her teenaged daughter Lilly’s increasingly obsessive interest in Zen Buddhism and in the boyfriend who spurred it on—all this while trying to put the ghosts of the past to rest, not so easy now that one of those ghosts is being released from prison. At 19, Jordan was secretly dating Dan Mallory, an apprentice at her father’s jewelry store. When Mallory was fired (because of the relationship), he returned to the shop, gun in hand, and murdered Jordan’s father right before her eyes. Now that he’s about to be freed, Jordan, with good reason, fears that Mallory may be after her: she’s had a string of ominous phone calls, and thinks that that someone might be following her. Meanwhile, Lilly, a budding photographer following in her famous father’s footsteps, has captured the same shadowy figure in the background of a series of photos. Unfortunately, no one believes Jordan: her D.A. brother assures her that Mallory was a model prisoner; and her daughter chastises her for being so suspicious and spreading negative energy. Within this context, the author introduces the questions of adultery and forgiveness. Robert’s unfaithfulness was the sole reason for their separation, and now Jordan is ready to finalize the divorce, even though the love between the two is evident and Robert is seeking reconciliation. But can Jordan trust him again? This fast-paced tale climaxes with Robert in a coma from a murder attempt—and Mallory closing in for revenge.
Rose’s take on the thriller formula is spiced up by a touch of melodrama: altogether, a satisfying blend.