A woman comes face to face with an obsessed ex-fiance when he threatens someone she loves in Faggioli’s (One Plus One, 2016, etc.) thriller.
Maggie Kincaid has been leading a quiet life in New York City, spending evenings alone in her apartment with her cat, Zossima. But she hasn’t been there for long; she’s been living in different places around the United States for the past five years in order to avoid her ex, Michael, who’s been stalking her ever since she broke off their engagement. Maggie’s very careful to exchange nightly, coded texts with her younger sister, Julie, to verify that she’s OK, and she memorizes the exact placement of items in her own apartment before leaving for work so that she’ll know if Michael’s broken in. So she’s understandably worried when she spots a blue Honda—a car that Michael has previously used. When it’s clear that he’s tracked her down again, Maggie chooses to stop running and stay right where she is. Michael responds by threatening her family, proving that he’s keeping an eye on Julie and their parents. To ensure their safety, Maggie follows his cryptic clues, which take her on a journey to a past filled with grim memories. Faggioli approaches his serious subject with unsparing realism: looking back, for example, Maggie realizes that her initial relationship with Michael had red flags, and in the present day, the law offers no help to her without witnesses or a physical assault. One early scene, in which Maggie thinks that Michael is somewhere in her apartment, is pure, white-knuckle suspense. There’s even a dash of the supernatural in Maggie’s lucid dreams, often of her late grandmother, that link Maggie to a surprising ally and force her to address a buried secret. Faggioli also sprinkles the taut narrative with darkly lyrical metaphors, such as the notion that Maggie was “fated to be [Michael’s] trigger” or that Michael’s voice is “a Q-tip plunged deep into her ear.”
A bleak but gripping tale with an impressive protagonist.