Author: Stacy Green
Length: 304 Pages
Publication: December 2014
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
While helping the police find Kailey Richardson, Lucy delved into the world of child sex trafficking. Now she's bent on bringing down a local ring of traffickers who operate out of high society businesses. When one of the women involved is found murdered Lucy is the prime suspect. In order to clear her name and bring down the trafficking ring Lucy must confront the darkness that resides inside of her. With Chris by her side and unwilling to let her slip any further into the dark void, she fights to stay ahead of the game, constantly worried she's falling behind.
This book was just as captivating, dark, and hopeful as the last. It made my heart race, ache, love, and hate. All on one page. Go read it. Right now.
Ever since Mother Mary, (Chris and Justin's murdering mother), escaped their clutches in the first installment, Lucy has turned her attention to a local ring of child sex traffickers. Chris is bent on keeping her out of prison and on tracking down his dear mother to inflict some Lucy Kendal justice. Chris is worried that the path Lucy is headed down will be her undoing-the ring is far too big for one person to take on their own. He constantly tries to derail her, reminding her of the promise she made to track down Mother Mary, but remains by her side through it all.
Lucy infiltrates a salon she and Chris have determined is involved with the sex trafficking ring right there in Philadelphia. When Lucy steals Sarah (the owner's) phone for information, Sarah confronts her and she tells her she knows all about the trafficking. Shortly after, Sarah is found murdered-gruesomely-and Lucy becomes the prime suspect. Now Todd Beckett-the man who simultaneously suspects, respects, and likes Lucy-is on her trail again. This time, however, his hand is being forced by someone else.
To crack this case Lucy will have to go deep, deeper than she's ever gone before, and dark. She will be forced to embrace the darkness within her and hope it doesn't consume her completely. But those around her aren't going to let her slip too far, if they can stop her.
One of the things I love most about these books is the characterization. Lucy is strong, selfish, selfless, complicated, everything you could say about a person. She has flaws-lots of them. I really appreciate the fact that we see her face some of the darkness, question it even, and try to come to terms with what she's done and what she's still doing. We see the fear she has of herself and the things she might do, things she never really thought herself capable of doing. There are no clear cut answers for Lucy, we don't get anything nicely wrapped up and I'm pretty sure we never will. Life isn't a pretty package. Lucy has flaws. Deeply rooted and festering flaws. She does crazy, illegal stuff. She starts to see herself as a monster, even when she thinks what she's doing is right. She's just so real. It's very nice to have this in a character when I've read so many others lately that lacked her complexity.
The rest of the characters are phenomenally written. We get to see all the favorites from the previous novel. Chris continues to grow in this novel and his attachment to Lucy is fascinating. Their relationship is complicated, but gives the story a solid grounding. I don't feel like the novels could function without Chris playing the part he plays. We don't see Kelly as much, but we do get some time with her. I feel like their is a lot of room for character development and story lines with Kelly and I'm sure we will get some of them in future installments. Justin makes only a few brief appearances, but we do get some insight into his new life and how he's adjusting. I think we'll be seeing more of him. And Todd is around-of course. I find his character very interesting and I love his and Lucy's interactions. I feel like we don't really have a lot of back story on Todd and there are many ways he could further grow and be used in the series.
All of the street kids and pimps we encounter we wonderfully created. These novels deal with very real, very dark subject matter and the way the characters are written helps bring the story to life. It's not just a novel to get lost in, but one that requires deeper thought. And of course there is a mystery in trying to figure out the real killer and who is behind the sex ring. It all kept me on the edge of my seat.
My main drawback with the novels and their story line is the plausibility of what Lucy is doing and how she's getting away with it. Chris, while very smart, cannot be the only person capable of figuring out Lucy's secret. Yes, Todd has his suspicions, but why hasn't he figured it out for himself yet. And maybe some of that has to do with the fact that those who suspect just truly don't want to know. And overall this is not a huge deal for me. The rest of the story and Lucy's struggles more than make up for these holes.
While dark and often deep this novel reads very quickly and I had a hard time putting it down. And it's not too dark, there are always moments of sunshine that brighten the story up. Definitely recommend this one if you like the genre. It's thought provoking and original. An excellent start to a series. I am eagerly awaiting the third book.
Until next time, friends. Happy reading!