by Carey Baldwin
Tour February 14 – March 3, 2017
Sometimes things and people are not what they appear to be on the surface. Superiority, unrelenting in attitude and determined to create a persona that others will believe, someone is taunting, manipulating and engineering a plan so devious, so diabolical that a young girl’s mental health and spirit have been compromised. At the age of 8 Laura Chaucer was kidnapped. Her nanny was along with her at the time and for some reason wound up dead. They both disappeared at the same time from her family’s home in Denver, but Laura was found alive why did someone kill Angelina? No one bothered to really investigate her death but thought that either Laura killed her or someone else but the case is still unsolved. Laura has been taking drugs for anxiety, depression and others to control her hallucinations or fabrications. But, were they given to her to help or for some other reason. Accused of being the killer of her nanny and now 13 years later missing again what is the link? Laura was said to be able to identify this person but for some reason she cannot. Deep within the recesses of her mind is the face of a monster but whose? Enter FBI profilers Special Agent Atticus Spenser and forensic psychiatrist Dr. Caitlin Cassidy who are called in to join the team on this case. Jordan Hatcher is the lead and from the start apprehensive about having them there but their intuition and their skills are beyond reproach as they try to piece together where Laura might be, deal with her psychiatrist Grady Webber and her mother who has an alcohol problem and her father a powerful U.S. Senator. Just why and how did she disappear from her college campus? Labeled as a troubled young woman did she run away or did the same person kidnap her again? As we hear her voice at the start of the novel and realize the torture she has endured, Laura comes into focus as a shattered, fragile young woman who realizes that it’s up to her to survive, come to terms with her predicament stuck alone and injured in a cabin somewhere and try and find her way out before the kidnapper returns to finish the job. Nightmares still plague her of her first kidnapping and her family psychiatrist insists that she is unstable, dangers to others and herself. True or false? As we get to know her better she makes some unwise choices and some others but when she phones her family psychiatrist after trying to see someone close to her that is a reporter, what he hears over the phone as we listen to the conversation allows the reader to know that Laura is finally realizing what this doctor is trying to convince her of and will she realize that there are others to trust. But, before she is found another victim in the cabin where she was being held, her friend Harriet’s body is found and the link to Laura, Angelina, Harriet and Caitlin will startle and surprise readers. Just what is the link and when Laura focuses on what she sees and finds in the cabin she might have found something that will clear anyone’s suspicions of her sanity. This is an investigation that will take both Caitlin and Spense on a journey into the mind of a sick and demented killer or monster that is hiding in plain sight. Off of her medications realizing that they were putting her in a cloudy fog all the time, she realizes that her psychiatrist did not have her best care in mind and the medications were hampering her thinking and mind. Without them she begins to focus as we see her trying to find or make sense of what has happened to her this time and realizing that memories are flashing back, that the killer is or is not just an illusion or hallucination and that he is definitely back.
Focusing on the parents they get mixed reviews and signals as they argue procedure as Tracy her mother swears that Laura would never do what they say. Yet, she too takes the advice of this same doctor and he has given her medications that she takes too as well as the fact that she drinks too much. While her husband Whit, seems to flounder in his opinion thinking that he is the cause of the first kidnapping thinking someone wanted to take it out on him namely Revenge. But, was it revenge for something he did or did not do? Was it a personal problem or personal revenge; was it power, greed, money or some opportunist?
Things spiral out of control when Caitlin’s past and her former relationship with Grady comes to light as he was her mentor in school and at times took liberties with her. Caitlin is strong, smart and when he approaches her and is inappropriate in his words and conduct she handles it like a pro. But, when Spenser learns the truth what he does is right out of a James Bond movie. There are cover-ups, lies, betrayals, denials and deceptions at the heart of this novel but even more a young woman’s life hangs in the balance. Caitlin and Spenser have some tense moments in their relationship when he proposes and she says no. But, working together they research other women that were tortured and killed the same way as Harriet and Angelina. Someone sent them an email just who and what about this email would help solve or not solve the case? What happens when Grady tries to take advantage of Caitlin and she too might have been another victim? But, just where is Laura and who is the mystery woman that is in a photo with a family friend that seems tied to the kidnappings and the murder? Where is Ty Cayman?
Truths, lies, deceptions and a young girl that will learn the harsh truth about her life, her heritage as Caitlin and Spenser interview one woman close to both Chaucer and Webber things will take on a different turn but will anyone safe Laura from the monster. Not realizing that she should not go back to the cabin where it all started she is accosted by this person but when Caitlin and Spenser learn where she is will they get there in time before another life is lost? One man who justifies his actions, takes advantage of young women, drugs them with Quaaludes or the date rape drug, claiming they asked for it. One woman’s life would never be the same. Another will learn a harsh reality and a truth. As Spenser comes to terms with his father’s infidelities, his past and finally tries to come to terms with his mom as Caitlin did with hers. Friendships, loyalties, hurt, lies, power, greed, as the author takes us inside the minds of a diabolical killer who justifies his/her actions and will stop at nothing to silence Laura and anyone else that takes away the freedom, life and celebrity that he/she wants and thinks is deserved. An ending that is filled with several twists and turns as this psychological mystery thriller comes to a dramatic, climatic and critical ending that sets this novel far above the rest. What happens when an 8 year old is kidnapped, tortured and then 13 years later the same thing happens again and no one believes her sanity. What happens when the people closest to you think you have lost your mental abilities? What happens when you realize that someone is out to do more than take your life and make sure that everything you ever believed in or had is STOLEN?
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine