Detective Valerie Hart is hiding secrets of her own as she tries to solve a murder that becomes more opaque with each new revelation.
When an insomniac glimpses a masked intruder fleeing his neighbor’s house, the police discover the bloody aftermath of a brutal attack: a husband dead and his wife barely clinging to life. The husband turns out to be Adam Grant, a former state prosecutor with no lack of enemies—and no lack of secrets. One of which is the fact that on a drunken night several years ago, Adam nearly slept with Valerie despite being married. Valerie knows she should recuse herself from the case, but she's stubborn and tends not to do the things that would be best for her. She’s dealing with her own personal drama, in fact, as she and her husband have recently decided to try for a child even though all of Valerie’s self-destructive impulses are driving her toward sabotage. The Grant case seems like a slam-dunk when an ex-con’s fingerprints are found all over the room, but the suspect himself is nowhere to be found. As Valerie digs deeper into his disappearance and Adam’s life, she keeps running into reports and evidence of a mysterious blonde. From the first gruesome scene of the novel it’s clear that this is a thriller with ragged edges, haunted characters, and graphic violence. Yet Black (LoveMurder, 2017, etc.) transforms this rawness into a strength through the character of Valerie. We see her wounded heart and her self-deprecating awareness of her own darkness, layers that illuminate the truth of the novel: that the actions we take for love are not always beautiful, or right, but they still carry meaning. It’s in learning to accept the consequences of our decisions that even the most troubled heart can find a kind of peace.
Gritty and grim, this is a terrific thriller made more luminous by its refreshingly human detective.