Forensic psychiatrist Anscombe brings back compromised forensic psychiatrist Paul Lucas (The Interview Room, 2005) in a race to find an abducted little girl—by any means necessary.
Dr. Lucas is under a cloud and under pressure. Neither the police nor his colleagues completely accept that he was blameless in the recent death of a police officer. The cops—particularly confrontational Detective Carol Dempsey—view his specialty as so much mumbo-jumbo. And his fragile marriage to social-worker Abby, nearly shattered by the death of their infant son, is deteriorating. Then a chance at redemption appears. Eight-year-old Danielle, the daughter of one of Abby’s clients, vanishes while running an errand for the social workers. Abby, who sees the girl as a substitute for her lost son, feels responsible. So when she calls Lucas and asks for his help, he knows that more than the little girl’s life is on the line. But the only witness to Danielle’s disappearance is a schizophrenic homeless woman; Dempsey and the other investigators are dismissive of the leads Lucas’s careful, sympathetic interviews produce. Adding to the pressure is the summer heat: The little girl is not expected to survive if she is not properly cared for. Even when Lucas helps find suspects, he gets little credit. When those suspects won’t give up Danielle, he is pushed by both his wife and the cops to ignore ethical boundaries. Doesn’t the life of a child matter more than a doctor’s oath? The dilemma is believably rendered, and the author makes some savvy observations in this gripping psychological thriller.
A bone-chilling tale showing how a decent man can cross the line.