Author: Stacy Green
Length: 310 Pages
Publication: September 2014
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
After working for a decade as a Child Protective Services case worker, Lucy Kendall has seen too much of the dark side of the world. After witnessing the systems failure for too many children, Lucy embraces her own dark side. Now, working as a vigilante with some clever sidekicks who carry their own baggage, Lucy gets caught up in a case that involves a missing child and the men that were part of her first case. Lucy must confront her own demons if she is going to help save the missing child in time.
This novel was dark, gritty, and crushing. The writing is beautiful and I found myself pulled into the novel from the first sentence: "I'm not a killer." There are so many things that made this novel enjoyable despite its dark subject matter. In fact, the dark subject matter might be part of what makes it so readable. The issues raised throughout this novel are ones that we should be facing head on, but that are generally ignored by society as a whole.
Lucy's first case involved Justin, a kid she thought was being abused but was unable to have removed from his parents. When, shortly after their meeting, Justin murdered another child, the real cracks started to appear in Lucy's plan to rid the world of filth. Now, ten years later, Justin has been released. Lucy believes that he cannot be redeemed. That's the final straw for her mental psyche. Now she deals out her own brand of justice, usually a highly concentrated vial of cyanide.
When Kailey, a little girl in Justin's neighborhood goes missing, Lucy is convinced he's the one behind the kidnapping. The biggest issue she faces now is Todd, Justin's older brother who is also the head detective on the case. Todd also has his own suspicions about Lucy's "extracurricular activities". There's also the problem of Chris, the man who knows too much about Lucy and her deadly deeds. He also claims to be a sociopath who murders to rid the world of scum as she does, but lurking in his eyes is a brand of empathy that no sociopath could ever feel.
The interactions of these characters is what makes the story really enjoyable. Lucy is strong, complicated, and not flighty like so many other leading women I've read about recently. She has a dark past and questions her decisions the entire novel. She also faces her own selfishness in many instances. Her gut reactions are not always accurate and sometimes she overlooks the obvious, but that makes her human. Definitely a character you can relate to in some way.
Todd and Chris are also very interesting characters and their interactions with Lucy are very well written and believable. We don't learn a whole lot about Todd (he's Justin's half brother and now a detective) and I really hope we get to see more of him in future novels. Chris is revealed slowly, a new layer revealed every few chapters as the story progresses.
This story managed to keep me guessing as it went along. The final conclusion was not obvious to me from the beginning, though I'm sure there were clues. Justin was an interesting character and I always felt that there had to be more to his story. Seeing that story unfold was heartbreaking in so many ways.
This novel deals with very real, very dark, very twisted aspects of humanity. As I said before, that might be one reason it is so readable, at least for me. It makes you want to help change the world, not in the way that Lucy does, but somehow. There is definitely more to be developed through more novels and I am very excited to read them.
The novel, while dark, is not overly dark. The subject matter is a very heavy topic, but is written and handled in such a way through well developed characters that it's not an overwhelmingly depressing read. In fact, it gives hope. I look forward to the future stories following Lucy and her endeavors to help children who need protection.
Until next time.