I’ll begin by offering a bit of advice. Don’t open this with the idea of just getting a few chapters under your belt. Prepare. Find a quiet spot, break out the emergency reading kit (snacks, beverages, blankie, heart rate monitor, etc.) & get comfortable. Because this author doesn’t so much gently lead you into the story as throw you off a speeding train. In the ebook version we have our first kidnapping at 2%. Then she shows some restraint, holding off til 8% for the second one. At this point you might start digging around for a seatbelt.
Dr. Michelle Spivey was enjoying an outing with her daughter. When a van suddenly pulls up beside them, her first thought is for her little girl. She needn’t have worried. It’s Michelle they want. One month later, Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent Will Trent & his girlfriend Dr. Sara Linton are spending time with her family when they hear 2 explosions. It’s coming from the Emory Campus & as they attempt to get to the scene, they’re waylaid by a road accident. In the blink of an eye Will is badly beaten & Sara is gone (tip: good time for snack/drink/heart rate check #1).
What follows is a gripping story told by 2 main narrators. In Will’s chapters we follow him & various levels of law enforcement as they try to find Sara & figure out what the hell is going on. His boss Amanda is as cagey & acerbic as ever as she directs the search while sparring with the FBI. Colleague Faith is in the thick of it, running down leads & providing some much needed comic relief.
In alternate chapters, we’re with Sara. Here we learn exactly what a secretive group are up to & why she & Michelle were selected. What they endure, witness & hear makes for a disturbing read at times but one that keeps you glued to the pages. Ms. Slaughter has a tendency to punt you out of your comfort zone but for me, the most unsettling parts were those that reflected the sad truths of real current events. The premise is frighteningly plausible & clearly she’s done her homework.
There is some minor repetition of scenes that seemed unnecessary but that’s nitpicking. Initially you’re swept up by the pace & need to know how all these players fit in. Then there’s a dawning sense of dread as it becomes clear what the bad guys’ agenda is.
To the squillion or so Will Trent fans out there, you can rejoice. It’s been a long wait for this instalment & it doesn’t disappoint. Although it can be enjoyed as a stand alone, there is a boat load of history among these characters that adds depth to the present situation & it was a pleasure to catch up with them. The ending leaves the door open for a book #10 & we can only hope it's in the works. Maybe use the time to deep breathe & replenish your reading kit.