Responding to her demand that he fly in from the West Coast to Brooklyn, Emma Price’s filmmaker husband Will preempts her announcement that, at 40, she’s pregnant again with one of his own: The marriage is over. Clearly Emma, onetime lead investigator for New Jersey’s Office of Capital Crimes, needs a change, and she gets it with a vengeance. The good news is that her old boss, Dawn Prescott, wants her to work for New York’s capital defender’s office to dig up evidence that will help Dawn defend teenager attitude queen Loretta Picard on the charge of killing the two NYPD officers who knocked at her door in response to a routine noise complaint. The bad news is an unofficial avenger’s role for Emma when the body of Beatriz Castillo, her son Liam’s babysitter, is found washed up off Coney Island. Why would Beatriz, whose fear of the water was lifelong, have gone to play in the rough surf? What do all these deaths have to do with each other (rest assured, there’ll be a connection you’d need the Hubble telescope to spot)? And—the most urgent question for debut novelist Rand: How can Emma come to terms with the challenges of her impossible husband, her traumatized son, her unborn child, and the promise of romance with the cop on Bea’s case?
Ambitiously scaled and generously plotted, with a combination of roles that demands expert juggling from put-upon Emma—even if Rand seems in the end to throw her densely woven plot away in favor of domestic melodrama.