A couple’s misery over their drug-addicted daughter’s overdose soon sparks retribution against the men they blame for her death in this thriller.
Meg Storm plummets into depression when learning of her 30-year-old daughter’s death. Lily had been a heroin addict for years, but neither Meg nor her husband, Jay, buys the cops’ theory that the overdose was suicide. Regardless, the tragedy quickly frays the couple’s marriage, and Jay moves out of the house. Meg is determined to hold someone responsible for Lily’s death, and though initially blaming Jay and even God, she eventually fixates on the heroin dealers. Despite being separated from his wife, Jay seems to share her obsession; he starts secretly following Lily’s junkie boyfriend, Wesley, and his cohorts. But the Storms’ interest in Lily’s sordid drug life could prove hazardous, as Wesley, et al. have ties to a Mexican cartel headed by the vicious drug lord Zambada. Various agencies, from the FBI to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, are more invested in Zambada setting up shop on San Juan Island. So Meg, who knows how to shoot a gun, seeks vengeance alone, and violence may be the only way to mete out justice against the men she’s designated her daughter’s killers. Wingate’s (The Last Maharajan, 2016, etc.) novel is a harrowing portrait of two parents losing a child. Lily dies before the end of her scheduled monthly blog posts, which become posthumous accounts from an addict and reveal an animosity toward her mother. Flashbacks with the Storm family mold Meg and Jay into sympathetic but flawed characters; both should have recognized signs of Lily’s turmoil even before she succumbed to heroin. The author writes with a shrewd, confident style; the characters’ experiences are often perceptible to readers. For example, Meg endures an emotional reaction as physical anguish: “This new pain was like a shot to the chest, radiating down and dark, through the soles of her feet.” Violence is stark but fleeting, as the profound tale is more about loss than revenge.
A bleak but undeniably affecting family tale.