On a camping trip in Stone Hill, New Hampshire, thirteen year old Phoebe McGraff is abducted from her tent at night, and younger sister Tess is the only witness. Phoebe’s dead body is found days later with evidence that she had been raped. Police suspect known recluse and pervert, Lazarus Abbott. Without any DNA evidence, his conviction relied heavily on Tess’s testimony. After several appeals, Abbott eventually receives the death penalty.
Twenty years later and with Lazarus’s death behind her, Tess has rebuilt her life in the Washington D.C. area, where she works as a documentary filmmaker and is mother to adopted son Erny. When a new governor in New Hampshire who is vehemently opposed to the death penalty is elected, Edith Abbott, Lazarus’s mother, pushes for the use of DNA evidence in attempt to vindicate her son.
Having traveled to NH for the announcement of the DNA evidence, Tess, her mother Dawn, and her brother Jake are thrown back into the nightmare they endured twenty years earlier. The results suggest that Lazarus wasn’t Phoebe’s killer, but Tess knows she wasn’t wrong in identifying him at the trial. This also means that the killer could still be on the loose.
Tess wonders just who could that killer could be? Could it be Lazarus’s abusive stepfather Nelson or Ken Phalen, the former inn owner who was around during Phoebe’s death? Not sure who she can trust in this small town of Stone Hill, especially handsome attorney Ben Ramsey, Tess is determined to avenge her sister’s murder on her own, but trying to uncover the case just may put her family’s life in danger.
I would happily pick up another one of this author’s books, and those who like the page-turning suspense of Mary Higgins Clark and Dean Koontz need to look no further than Patricia McDonald!