In the early 2000s, a string of abductions rocked the small upstate town of Reine, New York. Only one girl survived: Alex Salerno. The killer, Ken Parsons, was sent away. Life returned to normal. No more girls would have to die. Until another one did.
It’s been twelve years since Kira Shanks was reported missing and presumed dead. Alex Salerno has been living in New York City, piecemealing paychecks to earn a livable wage, trying to forget those three days locked underground and her affair with Sean Riley, the married detective who rescued her. When Noah Lee, hometown reporter with a journalistic pedigree, requests an interview, Alex returns to Reine and Riley, reopening old wounds. What begins as a Q&A for a newspaper article soon turns into an opportunity for money, closure and—justice. The disappearance of Kira Shanks has long been hung on Benny Brudzienski, a hulking man-child who is currently a brain-addled guest at the Galloway State Mental Hospital. But after Alex reconnects with ex-classmates and frenemies, doubts are cast on that guilt. Alex is drawn into a dangerous game of show and tell in an insular town where everyone has a secret to hide. And as more details emerge about the night Kira Shanks went missing, Alex discovers there are some willing to kill to protect the horrific truth.
Alex is the girl that got away from being a victim of a serial killer. She was abducted by the killer but got rescued before she could be raped and killed like the previous victims of the killer. She moved away from her small town soon after the incident, after another girl – Kira Shanks – went missing and Alex became old news. She’s now back for what she thinks is a legit interview but turns out to be wild-goose chase by a lazy college student for a paper about Kira Shanks’ case.
This student claims that the guy caught for killing Kira Shanks is pretending to be mute and mentally unstable just to escape punishment. He also tells Alex that detective Riley, the same guy who had rescued Alex is trying to get Kira’s apparent Killer Benny saved. Alex who had an affair with the much older and married Riley after he rescued her when she was 17, gets the excuse to meet the guy again. She admits to still having feelings for him. But he is dismissive of her and that spurs Alex to dig up the truth.
Alex is a mess. She tends bars, walks dogs and sells pills for a living. Even therapy didn’t help her. She’s also very erratic, impulsive and unpredictable. Her motives for investingating the Kira Shanks case all by herself were shaky at best. At first, it looks like she just wants to reunite her ex-lover. Then she claims that she’s doing it for the money offered to her. Detective Riley takes her to the mental facility Benny is living in to meet him. She’s indignant that a criminal gets to live in a facility akin to a hotel. But a few pages later she talks about how looking into Benny’s eyes made her feel that he was innocent.
Honestly, even though Alex’s character kept giving me whiplash, and was treating other characters with disdain, I still felt for her. She was like a wary stray puppy to me who just needed some affection.
It was the storytelling, fast pace and the plotting that made it a very enjoyable thriller to me. The author kept it realistic.
The environment the author created was made for a perfect thriller. I didnt know what to expect. Even the ending was bittersweet. But I finally read a psychological thriller and mystery that kept me on my toes after a long time. I believe that it would make a great film adaptation!
Publication Date: 3rd December, 2018.
Source: ARC from Publisher (via Netgalley)