Readers will easily empathize with Sarah’s moral dilemma: do the right thing and testify against members of the Russian Mafia, who immediately put a million dollar bounty on her head, or let the killers (one of whom is still at large) get away with murder. As Sarah’s lawyer observes, she might be marked for death no matter which option she chooses. Harmon deftly conveys the disorientation inherent with losing one’s lifelong identity and being forced to take on a stranger’s. The title refers to an elaborate coverup scheme and new life plan Sarah negotiates with the FBI.
Sarah’s emotional angst at not being able to celebrate major milestones with her family–including a grandchild’s birth, a child’s high school graduation, and another’s engagement–comes across with clarity. Sometimes, Harmon summarizes rather than fully dramatizes key moments, and some scenes of Sarah observing her family, even in heavy disguise, without being detected strain credulity. Still, Sarah’s strong desire to be with her family at all costs rings true. Readers fond of hair-raising plots and strong heroines will find promise in Harmon’s debut.
Takeaway: An inventive plot, a conflicted heroine, and high emotional stakes stand out in this thriller debut.
Great for fans of: Kate White’s The Wrong Man; Nicci French’s The Other Side of the Door.
Design and typography: B-
Marketing copy: A
"I'm writing this review just moments after finishing the book, and I'm still in awe of satisfaction from the thrill, exhilaration, and enjoyment the book dispensed. It offered everything that I could ever wish for in a book—a perfect flow, well-sustained suspense and tension, a nice plot, and so many things I can't exhaustively mention.
The book navigates through the fear, the uncertainties of an unknown future, and the constant insecurities that spring up as Sarah tries to save her own life and her family's life. It is a story filled with the crises and the complexities of making difficult and dangerous decisions. We witness as the characters are pressed hard between either doing good for justice's sake or doing the opposite for their own sake. There are also rude shocks, unnerving realizations, and sharp twists and turns to be experienced. There are also life-determining sacrifices to be made and several things to put at stake. All these left me in deep empathy for the Stevens family throughout. There is a lot that coursing through the pages in the book ignited in me, but the most striking is realizing what unexpected changes life can take in a mere split second.
I admired Dr. Sarah Stevens throughout the book. She knew how to find her way through the fog of stress and anxiety; I couldn't help but raise a brow in amazement at how she held up in some really trying moments. I also like the Stevens family for the strong love among themselves and the composure they elicited through the ordeal.
I loved all scenes in the book, but I'll mention a few. One is the scene where Sarah, called Sandra at that time to disguise her identity, came to visit her family—only to find Nicholas, her husband, marrying another woman. Nicholas thought Sarah was dead and decided to remarry. I felt it for Sarah since she couldn't do anything as it could compromise her safety. The other one is the scene pretty earlier at the beginning of the book where Sarah witnesses the crime.
If you like exhilarating crime and suspense thrillers, I'll recommend this book to you."