This psychological thriller pits one woman’s personal demons against those of her stalker to create a compelling, well-told dual confession.
Dr. Caprice Wilson finds herself in a dark hole—figuratively and then literally. Recently divorced, she’s living alone after her only son left for college. Despite the beauty of her Hawaiian home and interesting career as a psychologist for law enforcement, her life is incomplete. She grieves for her son’s departure, her husband’s betrayal and the long-ago loss of her twin sister. It’s a full plate, and Wilson drinks excessively to get through it. As her struggle starts to reach its peak, a stranger finds her in an isolated Maui retreat. His analysis of her issues—and his own deep-seated psychosis—puts Wilson into a bind. He kidnaps her, but the back and forth between Wilson and the young man is quick-witted and wickedly fun. Author Neal (Twisted Vine, 2013, etc.) has written multiple thrillers, and her experience shows in her careful, detailed handling of the characters and their circumstances. Wilson is a fascinating, sympathetic woman, full of faults and doubts, not to mention a soul-sucking drinking problem. The story centers on Wilson and her thoughtful consideration of her own peril, and when her life is at risk from her stalker, readers will find themselves rooting for her. “He was naming a future for himself, a future that wasn’t yet hopeless but would never happen if he killed me,” she thinks. “I had to let that work its own powerful magic on him—its infection of hope.” Neal is a powerful writer, and her prose is often effortless and elegant. The story moves fast, the only challenge being the strange internal voice given to Wilson’s deceased twin, a twist that somewhat discredits Wilson’s intelligence; it does, however, illustrate her descent since her drinking problem took over. Even with this minor annoyance, Neal’s solid work is a cutting look at suffering and redemption.
A strong, savvy dissection of how two people’s lives are intertwined by violence, psychology and grief.