I have been reading author Iris Johansen’s beautifully emotional love stories since she was writing for Lovespell and transitioned into her contemporaries when she created the character of Eve Duncan. I have stayed with Eve through all her trials and tribulations in her quest to bring her daughter Bonnie home. Like many fans I thought the end of Eve’s quest meant we would have to bid Eve goodbye and leave her and Joe to pick up the threads of their life and retire from the limelight. But that is not to be and the introduction of Beth Avery plunges us into a new and completely different chapter of Eve’s life. It all starts when Eve’s mother Sandra comes to request Joe to investigate Beth’s disappearance from a hospital where she’s been in a coma for the last several years. On the trail to finding Beth, startling truths emerge.
Beth Avery was a young woman on the cusp of womanhood who enjoyed life to the maximum when her charmed life came to an end when she has a skiing accident. She’s been in a coma for several years, so what kind of foul play caused her to disappear? What is her relationship to Sandra and why is Sandra so concerned about her, and, more importantly, how did Sandra find out about her disappearance when it’s been kept quite hush-hush. Finally, is there a relationship between the escape and Eve’s startlingly vivid dreams of a woman on the run? When Joe’s preliminary investigation reveals that there may be a lot more behind the story than is apparent, he brings in the legendary Kendra Michaels, who uncovers the beginnings of a conspiracy that has incarcerated a beautiful, young woman in a hospital bed in a drug-induced coma for a very long time.
It appears that Beth witnessed something that the killer is desperate to keep hidden, and now with Beth starting to try to piece together the events that took place just before her accident, the body count starts to climb as the killer eliminates anyone who can potentially talk and help Beth, Joe, and Eve piece together the story. Beth herself has been hypnotized to forget the truth. Worse, Beth’s first escape from the killer to eliminate her tweaks his ego and now he’s determined to put an end to her and doesn’t care whom he hurts in his quest.
As they say, chance favors the strong. An investigator hired by Sandra to investigate the facts behind Beth’s accident starts to piece together the truth and dispatches his nephew, who has just returned from an overseas tour, onsite to the hospital. He becomes instrumental in helping Beth fight back and recover her senses and escape ahead of the killer. Eve and Joe, with some help from the little girl in her bugs bunny t-shirt (yes, Bonnie has her cameo appearances), Beth, Eve, and Joe manage to stay one step ahead of the killer as the author skillfully builds the suspense on the way to the climax.
I have always enjoyed the dialog and relationship between Eve and Joe. It is so heartening to see the strong bond and love they share, but Beth Avery, the fragile girl-woman who has spent half her life artificially asleep and now awake wants to experience life and love to the fullest, is the one who makes this story. I rejoiced with Beth at her hard-won victories and cried with her as she discovered that sometimes the world can be a very ugly place and the people who should love and nurture you fail to do so. I can’t wait to see Beth again and discover the richness of her life since she truly knows how to savor every moment.
One woman held captive for decades . . .
Another one freed by the truth . . .
Forensic sculptor Eve Duncan knows what it’s like to be haunted by the past. For years after her daughter, Bonnie, was stolen from her, she fought for closure. But now as she’s striving to begin anew, she can’t shake the feeling that something terrible is about to happen—or maybe already has. When her mother, Sandra, asks for help in finding a missing friend named Beth Avery, Eve is sure that she’s hiding something. It’s odd that Sandra would get involved at all, and the fact that she adamantly refuses to go to the police for help reinforces Eve’s suspicions that something is very wrong.
Read an excerpt.
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