A detective with bad dreams and a young volunteer trying to overcome her fears pit themselves against a serial rapist.
It’s always the same nightmare—a waste space, a surreal sky, a frozen figure in gray—that awakens DI Zoe Dalton. She recognizes the place as the grim housing project where she grew up, but the figure is inscrutable. All she knows is that the nightmare fills her with the sense that something awful is about to happen. Something awful has already happened in Zoe’s city: a predator has beaten and raped four women. His fifth victim fits the same pattern: she’s young, attractive, and vulnerable. Zoe feels violated herself after she’s burglarized, but as a former member of a girl gang, she’s so tough that she finds it hard to work with her cautious partner, DI Chris Sands. She even apprehends one of the burglars, someone she’s known since her teen years who’s an unwitting link to her bad dreams. But she, Sands, and the rest of her department are more focused on the “creeper,” especially after he rapes, beats, and kills his next victim. When Jane Webster, a meek young helpline volunteer, defies her supervisor’s orders and breaks confidentiality to tell the police about a caller who seemed to admit to the crimes, Zoe dismisses him and his claims about a monster at large as one more crank. But she discovers how wrong she is when she’s plunged into a waking nightmare in a fast-paced thriller that plays as many mind games with the reader as with the gutsy protagonist.
Despite some awkward plot contrivances and secondary characters who are little better than outlines, Mosby (The Murder Code, 2013, etc.) has the talent to build both physical and psychological suspense. And he proves once again that he really knows how to work the strings.