“She could have stopped an awful crime. She could have saved a life. She tried to forget about it. But now, the truth is out.
The terrifying new psychological thriller from the bestselling author of Retribution and Pretty Little Things.
Faith Saunders is the perfect wife, mother and sister – loved and admired by all who know her. One night will change everything.
As she drives home in the pouring rain, a dishevelled young woman appears out of nowhere, pleading for help. The isolated stretch of road is dark, and with her four-year-old daughter Maggie asleep in the backseat, Faith refuses to let the stranger in. What she sees next will haunt her forever.
When the missing-person posters go up, Faith’s guilt consumes her. Then the girl’s body turns up, and her perfect life begins to unravel. Because it turns out Maggie wasn’t asleep that night and – unlike her mother – she’s not afraid to speak up.
Maggie’s testimony leads to an arrest, but Faith is the only one who can identify a second man who was at the scene of the crime. She has one chance to convince a jury of what happened. If she fails, two murderers will go free – two men who have killed before and who will undoubtedly kill again. And they know exactly where to find Faith and her family…”
Distraught after a fight at her sister’s house which concluded in Charity kicking her and Maggie out, Faith takes her four-year-old daughter and begins the almost two hour drive home until a storm of epic proportions causes her to pull over to sit out the unrelenting rain. Having somehow become lost, Faith finds herself in what looks like a ghost town amongst the sugar cane fields!
Exhausted and a little under the influence, she nods off in the driver’s seat. When she is woken by tapping on her window she is confronted by a bedraggled young woman begging for help. As Faith struggles with her conscience, a man appears and leads the woman away from her car. Unable to make an emergency call because in her haste to leave she had forgotten her handbag and phone at Charity’s house, the fear for her and Maggie’s safety wins out and she drives off.
Once home, she doesn’t tell her husband Derrick what has happened and neither does she call the police to report it but a few days later when Maggie sees the face of the woman on a television news broadcast, she informs her father that it’s the lady her mother wouldn’t let in the car.
Meanwhile, Detective Bryan Nill, a divorced homicide detective has a few dead bodies on his hands and is trying his utmost to solve the crimes with no leads, no witnesses, nada, nothing! Until he discovers that Faith and her daughter were out there that night and saw the killer.
As his investigation continues, Faith is drawn in with the hope that she will be able to assist in identifying this inhuman monster. Instead, she impedes it by not quite revealing everything to the police – until Detective Nill makes a macabre discovery.
With her life continuing to spiral out of control and the constant conflict between her and Derrick causing even more tension, I found myself asking whether she’d ever find her way out of the dark abyss of secrets and lies that were threatening to swallow her or, if eventually, she would just become another victim!
This is the first time I have had the pleasure of reading a Jilliane Hoffman novel but it won’t be my last. One of the things I especially appreciated was that Ms Hoffman expands on the acronyms she uses throughout the novel which, for me, went a long way in helping this international reader to gain more insight into the departments who assist in the investigation side of things.
Her characters are well drawn and the fact that she has written this story from various perspectives, including those of Faith, Bryan and Derrick (amongst others) gives the whole story great depth and understanding about where these characters have been, what has been happening in their lives and what their motives are. In particular, I connected with Faith in terms of her fear and anguish although there were a number of times where I found myself questioning her actions.
Overall, this was a great read which I would recommend to anyone who enjoys a novel with a shrewd and menacing serial killer. The plot is clever with a lot of twists and turns, Ms Hoffman’s pacing is impeccable helping to keep the tension taught and her great balance of drama and suspense will not only have you hooked from the very first page but also asking yourself “What Would I Do?”.
I wish to thank HarperCollins Australia for providing me with a hard copy for review.
Jilliane Hoffman began her professional career as an Assistant State Attorney prosecuting felonies in Florida from 1992 to 1996, with special assignments to the Domestic Violence Unit and the Legal Extradition Unit.
Through 2001, she was the Regional Legal Adviser for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), advising more than one hundred special agents on criminal and civil matters in complex investigations involving narcotics, homicide, and organised crime.
Originally from Long Island, New York, she presently resides in South Florida with her husband and two children.