Hidden beneath the rich veneer, the fashionable couture and her outlandish lifestyle, are secrets that Caroline Vogt will keep within her vestibule locked away forever and never disclosed. Someone invaded her privacy and learned about this event in her past and a note demanding a million dollars was sent to her by an unknown blackmailer. Frantic yet organized in her thoughts she summons her goddaughter to her home. With no thought to the reason for her demanded visit and wondering what this will entail, Emma Streat is about to walk into a powder keg of danger, explosions and intrigue.
Entering her godmother’s home is like entering a five-star hotel with every amenity available. Caroline is distraught and relates the information in the note, the fact that she complied and sent the money to the kidnappers, now she wants Emma to get it back.
Presuming that her ex-husband is the one that made the demands and thinking he’s in Paris, she does not ask but states that Emma will go in pursuit of him. Why does she agree?
Plans are made but first she must connect with someone from her past in order to learn the possible location of Pierre Hallam. Things are not as well-oiled as they seem to be in Caroline’s mind. Emma has a moral dilemma and must contact an ex-lover named Rodale hoping he can help her
locate a Hallam. Next, she must contact Breck Langer , Caroline’s money manager to find out who cashed the check and where. But, something about him sent you red flags and Emma must investigate and learn more. Even her godmother’s assistant has a nagging feeling that he’s hiding something and even though she mistrusts him a plan is formed, and the result will shock not only readers but Caroline too. Even before she can get a plan more in place someone enters her home, attacks Caroline and forced Emma into action but will Caroline survive the brutality? If that is not horrific enough, Emma is pushed into traffic waiting for a taxi and is seriously shaken up and bruised. Who wants her out of?
the way ?
Emma has a difficult decision to make concerning Caroline. Place her at home with care or in rehab? Which is safer? She seems to have memory losses and a he onset of dementia leading to Emma placing her in the rehab but at what cost? Each time she calls or visits you realize that she’s over medicated and drugged which is not unusual for some of these places to use to subdue their patients.
Both Caroline and Emma need more security and Emma instructs the rehab personnel not to allow any calls or visitors without checking with her first.
Things get more tense as the truth about Langer comes out and his final takedown will surprise readers and at whose hand and why.
Emma decides to enlist the security firm that Caroline has suggested and Mets Agent Howard who seems to understand the gravity of the situation and a plan is put in place. She is impetuous and demands results and often goes off in many directions without thinking about the consequences and dire results:
Agent Howard creates a plan but somehow someone finds a way to foil it and he’s taken down. The location is a school and the students are runaways or handicapped and forced to hack into accounts and not dare question anything. Cybercrime is at the heart of this novel as a criminal organization with huge firewalls prevents answers from filtering through. An operation that went south when Agent Howard was seriously injured and his fate in question. Emma is next and attacked hoping to save Howard. Acting as health inspectors and having the proper documents did not stop someone from calling the state to verify the audit. More security is awarded to both Caroline and Emma but who is behind the attacks and what is Atlas?
Emma is strong willed and impetus not always thinking through the possible outcomes of her what she plans to do. Danger follows her and at times you think she feels invincible yet at others guilt ridden and vulnerable.
A dinner party would change things drastically as she meets a wealthy group of people whose interests vary and severs who Emma finds she wants to socialize with . Cyrus Liden is a billionaire and is living with a younger woman named Anna. Little does Emma know that Anna has a debilitating illness and it’s this illness and the scenes that follow that foster the plot lines that follow. A simple shopping excursion would haunt her for days as Emma, Anna and another young woman named Genevieve decided to go shopping each one for different items. But fate plays nasty blow once again as someone starts screaming and pretends to be in pain while Emma is thrown down, injured and Anna is kidnapped. Unfortunately, she’s the only witness and once again needed to give statements and required to remain even though she longs for her own bed. Linden blames her for what happened to Anna and with his power and contacts she’s forced to help find her.
The final scenes are tension filled and once again a plan is formed and this time with the help of another agent, they might find her but this time a life is lost. A waiter is killed who was linked to the ransom money and a victim of blackmail too. Emma is thrown into the mix to help solve the case as part of the team.
Will she ever return home? What about the fact that her godmother is now battling dementia and has no idea of what is coming next?
Loyalties are split and for some reason it seems she likes the danger and excitement as she now must deal with Rodale once more.
Connected to another murder and asked to place herself on the mist of another plan to find Mellinton another victim of blackmail. Forced to remain again she gets a lead as to where this man might be and is sent to that location. Crale House is where he was last.
Author Eugenia Lovett West created a multiple plot line filled with suspense, story twists and unusual turn of events. The issue of family loyalties, deceptions, betrayal, abuse, dementia, wrong accusations and determination are just some of the issues brought to light in this novel.
Emma is intelligent and each time she moves one step ahead there’s an obstacle driving her back and in danger. Finding Mellinton a gambler and who was bailed out by Chinese cyber criminals leading to being forced to get a valuable program. People wanted him silenced and Emma with the help of Rodale once again is placed in the position to take him down and possibly stop the organization running the operation. But some endings lead to dire situations and before she can impart what someone imparts to her in a phone call, she’s kidnapped , taken hostage but will Rodale understand her unusual response on the phone? Emma is in danger, seconds before someone takes her out, a godmother in need of care and an ending leaving you wondering where she will wind up next and if Rodale will remain in her life. Some endings are new beginnings and an offer is made: which direction will she face, or will she be the final victim of the cyber criminals? Intriguing, powerfully interesting and keeps you wondering about the power of technology and how secure our privacy is or isn’t. Find out what protections are needed and the importance of having a hack proof computer Firewall.
Fran Lewis just reviews