I dare you to read the prologue of this book without getting totally pulled in to the story. My heart was pounding by page 2, and I think my boss might want to have a talk with Mr. Hart because I went in to work a couple of mornings on very little sleep because I couldn’t put this book down until I got to the last word.
Johnny Merrimon was once a happy child. He and his twin sister, Alyssa, lived with their beautiful, vibrant mother and strong, caring father. Then Alyssa goes missing. She’s seen being pulled into a mysterious van, and a year later, Johnny’s life is completely different. His mother is bullied into passivity by a rich, abusive man who keeps her strung out on drugs and treats her like a possession. Johnny knows in his heart that he can find his sister, bring his father home, and save his mother, and for months he plays a dangerous game of spying on local child predators, convinced that at least one of them knows what happened to his sister. Detective Hunt is the haunted cop who cannot break out of his obsession with Alyssa’s case – and the beautiful mother – to save his own family from falling apart. Jack is the wounded best friend who idolizes Johnny and tries to mask his own pain with the alcohol he steals from his cop father.
Hart could have taken the easy way out and turned this into a suspenseful but heartwarming story of mystery
and redemption. Instead, he creates complex, rich characters and places them in terrifying, soul searching situations. Johnny is a child living with nightmares, and he reaches into ancient mysticism, searching
for strength and clues to help him heal his family. He’s seen too much of the harsh reality of life for someone his age, and this dark desperation colors all the events in this book.
I was, simply put, blown away by this book. It is well written, intelligent, and impossible to forget. A week after finishing it, I’m still thinking about it. Hart is now on my must-read list, and I look forward to reading his next novel.