Chan’s (To Gain the Whole World, 2013) pulpy psychological thriller is not for the faint of heart.
Lucinda McConnell has held onto an image of The Boy Who Rescued Maximilian—her stuffed rabbit, Maximilian, that is, who fell over a fence at the zoo when Lucinda was a child—for most of her adult life, ever since she was kidnapped, raped and tortured for years shortly after the day at the zoo. The thought of this mysterious boy coming to rescue her from her physical and psychological pain has sustained her throughout difficult relationships and unsatisfying jobs, including her current gig at a law firm. So when Lucinda runs into a man in the elevator who claims to be her long lost childhood friend, she can’t help but hope. Penn is handsome, interesting and seems to want to get to the heart of Lucinda’s fears. But when her ex-boyfriend, Daniel, shows up with a story about a man who, in his search for new tales for his “story collection,” pumps him for information about Lucinda and then mysteriously moves in to her apartment building—Lucinda’s life begins to unravel. Every new friendship and every success she has at work seem to have been poisoned by her past and her relationship with Penn. After a tumultuous eight months, Lucinda breaks it off—and Penn commits suicide. But the nightmare isn’t over: Handsome, exotic Ronin moves into Lucinda’s apartment building and her heart, with catastrophic consequences. Author Chan has crafted a fast-paced, complicated thriller that is not short on twists. An efficient storyteller, Chan skillfully weaves together numerous plot threads. While the writing is decent and the dialogue believable, the gratuitous portrayals of the darkest side of humanity might be a bit much for those looking for a beach read.
Intriguing plotlines, but graphic descriptions of rape, torture and murder may deter many.