A little girl thinks she’s escaped a sexual predator. But has she?
Peggy Weaver and her friend Sammie Stallworth, age ten, are a familiar sight as they bike in and around their small hometown of Avalon, Tenn. On an apparently normal day, however, insanity enters their lives. Someone captures Sammie, and Peggy is challenged in a way that will haunt her endlessly. “Trade,” the skinny man says, grinning evilly, while holding Sammie helpless. “You for her.” Instead, Peggy runs, outdistancing the danger but never the guilt. Twenty five years later, Peggy is the much respected FBI special agent Weaver, her career on the rise, whose past is about to throw a roadblock. When pornographic photos of a little girl heartlessly posed appear on the Internet, she recognizes Sammie, who’d been used and abused by her monstrous captor before being almost casually released. Later that night Sammie, now the equally respected professor Aldridge, calls. She too has seen the photos and is badly shaken by them. After all this time, must she reprise the half-forgotten horror that came so close to ruining her life? And, for that matter, what lurks in Avalon for Peg? Secrets and lies, yes, but perhaps long-sought redemption as well.
Lakeman’s second (The Shadow Catchers, 2006), though a bit overplotted, is blessed with feisty, fearless Special Agent Peg, who kick-starts the action whenever she has to.