Nearly a decade and a half after abducting teenager Lizzy Gardner, her captor is ready to seek revenge on the one who got away, in Ragan’s white-knuckled thriller,
When she was 16-years-old, Lizzy Gardner lied to her parents about spending the night with friends and snuck out with her boyfriend, Jared. When he dropped her off a block from her home, it was just too easy for the kidnapper to switch gears and take Lizzy instead of the Anderson girl. But after two months of torture, including being poisoned and burned, Lizzy escaped. At 30-years-old, she’s now a private investigator who spies on unfaithful spouses and teaches girls how to defend themselves. Jared is now an FBI agent and, after having not spoken to Lizzy since the abduction, he contacts her because the madman who took her is at it again—and he left a personal note for Lizzy with his latest victim. In James Patterson style, Ragan choreographs a tightly woven dance among a large cast who all have a connection to Spiderman, the moniker given to the killer because of his penchant for torturing victims with creepy crawlers. Ragan’s psychopath is on a mission to teach “bad” girls a lesson and punishes them according to their vice. With no shortage of plot swells, Lizzy and Jared, along with Sgt. Jimmy Martin and even Lizzy’s self-defense student, Hayley Hansen, are determined to rescue Spiderman’s latest victim, someone Lizzy would risk her life for. Even the killer’s own sister is looking for him and may hold the clue to his depravity, where slicing a pinky off a victim thrills him. Although the story boasts a couple of oddities, such as why Ragan chose similar names for her characters (Warner, Winters, Walker; Crawford, Crowley) and why nearly every character is on the verge of divorce, or divorced, the masterful storytelling and inventive plot trample these minor inconveniences. Lizzy is Hannibal Lechter’s Clarice, and although parallels to Silence of the Lambs abound, Ragan’s thriller stands on its own.
The satisfyingly frightful episode of a calculating cutthroat.