Published: September 13, 2019
At nineteen-years-old, college student Josie Stratton was kidnapped by a madman and held shackled for ten months in an abandoned warehouse before she finally escaped her hellish prison.
Eight years later, when the body of a young woman is found chained in the basement of a vacant house, Cincinnati Police Detective Zach Copeland is instantly reminded of the crime committed against Josie Stratton. Zach was just a rookie on the perimeter of that case, but he’s never forgotten the traumatized woman with the haunted eyes.
As more information emerges, the crimes take on an even more sinister similarity. But Josie’s attacker died by suicide. Does the city have a copycat on its hands? A killer who picked up where the original perpetrator left off? Or are they facing something far more insidious?
Josie has spent the last eight years attempting to get her life back on track, but now there’s a very real chance she could be the unknown suspect’s next target. As Zach vows to keep her safe, and Josie finds herself responding to him in a way she hasn’t responded to any man in almost a decade, the investigation takes on an even more complex edge of danger.
As past and present collide, Josie and Zach are thrust toward a shocking and chilling truth. A revelation that threatens not only Josie’s life, but everything she’s been fighting so desperately to reclaim.
This story is told in the past and present, from the third person (I know some people have trouble connecting to this POV, but I felt the author did a great job in building an emotional connection with the heroine).
In the past . . .
We learn of the horrific abduction and torture of a young college student, Josie Stratton. This part of the book is haunting in its simplicity. The author doesn’t delve into the specifics of Josie’s torture, but we know that she is chained to the wall, raped, and nearly starved to within an inch of her life (the assailant drew this part out, making it that much more disturbing).
Given that there is a present that features Josie, alternating with chapters from the past, we can assume that there is at least somewhat of a happy ending for her (she doesn’t die). But her journey and what she loses along the way, cannot be forgotten.
In the present . . .
About that happy ending I just mentioned . . . forget it. After another woman is found, this one dead, and the particular details are revealed about her condition, the police are concerned they have a copycat on their hands. Even though the original kidnapper is dead, they understand that Josie may be at risk once again. And that’s what brings Detective Zach Copeland to Josie’s doorstep.
There is an immediate connection between Josie and Zach that runs deeper than a physical connection. On Josie’s part, it is the first time she’s found comfort with a man since her abduction. On Zach’s part, he sees a woman that has survived the worst circumstances and rather than fold under the weight of it all, is fighting to regain her life. There is admiration for her strength. Although he doesn’t regard her as weak, he knows he can’t take any risks as more bodies are discovered.
At some point, like the characters in this story, I began to question on whether the right person was identified as the kidnapper in the past. I think I sorted that out before any big revelation was made, but I had no clue who the serial killer was in the present. The author does a great job on slowly revealing connections between the victims and ultimately the killer. I loved the big twist with the killer’s identification, and how the author wraps up the story. Very unexpected!
The author did a phenomenal job of building this thriller, with a heroine that you want to cheer for every step of the way. Whether you are a fan of this author, or this genre, this one is worth checking out!