After a somewhat protracted opening, Holt crafts an intense game of cat-and-mouse, with danger and betrayal powering the narrative forward. Stella proves a formidable protagonist whose courage and inner strength grows over the course of the story. Not only is she facing down drug dealers--she’s also being stalked by her manipulative boss, whom she once dated, a subplot that keeps the stakes and tension high. Though she isn’t looking for a man to swoop in and save her, she finds comfort and companionship with Egan, who is determined to clear his name and keep both of them alive. Some readers may find that their mutual trust develops too quickly, but they both reveal themselves as strong characters with chemistry that lights up the pages.
Tucked amid the engrossing action are occasional interjected conversations about sexuality and gender that seem out of place, and a few scenes prove repetitive. One unsettling plot thread concerns a friend of Egan’s who wants to “mold” an addict into a “loving companion” for himself as she rehabilitates, making him her “savior”--unless Egan wants to “challenge” him for her. The surprise: Stella and Egan voice no objections. Still, the duo’s survival instincts will keep readers turning the pages and hoping for a happily ever after. Any crime thriller fan who loves a mystery will enjoy Holt’s sharp twists and turns.
Takeaway: This on-the-run crime thriller offers mystery fans dynamic leads, intense action, and surprising twists.
Great for fans of: Ann Cleeves’s Vera Stanhope series, Tana French.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A-