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Disaster, Melanie Barrick was once told, is always closer than you know…
It was a lesson she learned the hard way growing up in the constant upheaval of foster care. But now that she’s survived into adulthood – with a loving husband, a steady job, and a beautiful baby boy – she thought that turmoil was behind her.
Until the evening she goes to pick up her son from childcare, only to discover he’s been removed by Social Services. And no one will say why.
A terrifying scenario for any parent, it’s doubly so for Melanie, all too aware of the unintended horrors of ‘the system’. When she arrives home, her nightmare gets worse – it has been raided by Sheriff’s deputies, who have found enough cocaine to send her to prison for years. If Melanie can’t prove her innocence, she’ll lose her son forever. Her case is assigned to Amy Kaye, a no-nonsense assistant Commonwealth’s attorney. Amy’s boss wants to make an example out of Melanie, who the local media quickly christens ‘Coke Mom’.
But Amy’s attention continues to be diverted by a cold case no one wants her to pursue: a serial rapist who has avoided detection by wearing a mask and whispering his commands. Over the years, he has victimized dozens of women in the area – including Melanie. Now it’s this mystery man who could be the key to her salvation… or her ultimate undoing.
‘As finely plotted as Parks’s debut Say Nothing, this new novel grippingly combines a Grishamlike
scenario — an underdog lawyer and downtrodden client battling against the odds — with the
female protagonists the older writer usually avoids.’
‘In the wake of his bestseller Say Nothing, Parks’ new story is based around a likeable, down-to-earth assistant attorney in Virginia… equals John Grisham at his best.’
‘An exciting, page turning psychological drama... thrilling… [an] emotional ride.'
‘Once I started reading, I just couldn’t stop... The writing and the characters are so convincing… The Sunday Times has said that Brad Parks matches John Grisham at his best but in my opinion, Brad Parks is a better author than John Grisham.’
‘I couldn’t put this one down. The twists and turns just kept coming… a real rollercoaster… One thing that really stood out for me was the fact that at no point did it become obvious that this was a man writing from a woman’s point of view. I find often certain words or phrases sound a bit out of kilter but not with this one.’
‘A five star page-turner.’
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