A decade after escaping from a kidnapper who held her prisoner for three years, a young woman must face the reality that he’s taken another little girl.
Thirteen years ago, Ella Santos existed. Now that girl is gone, replaced by Lainey Moreno, an acerbic woman who subsists on cigarettes and whatever pills she can find, trying desperately to forget the years she spent locked in a basement with the man who raped her. Until she sees a missing poster for 10-year-old Olivia Shaw, privileged where Lainey was poor, loved where Lainey was neglected. Improbably, the detective on the case is Sean Ortiz, the traffic cop who found Lainey the day she got away, the only one who doesn’t think Lainey is broken beyond repair. The refrain—and it becomes an almost literal one throughout the increasingly predictable narrative—that Lainey believes she is worthless but Sean sees her potential grows tiresome, as do the allegedly shocking but actually humdrum revelations about Lainey’s past and her connections to Olivia. Laurin, in her debut, tries for psychological depth by sidestepping the victim role for her heroine—an admirable choice—but instead plonks her in the decidedly less interesting resigned-vigilante camp, where her sense of agency disappears as fast as the pills she swallows.
It’s not challenging to root for a character who’s damaged, but it is hard to find common ground with someone who’s constantly negating her own self-worth in place of an actual plot.