From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Bestseller Unger's sensational second thriller (after Beautiful Lies) puts her in the same league as such genre masters as Peter Straub and Peter Abrahams. From the cryptic opening section, which ends with a New York Times reporter finding her husband bleeding to death, Unger grabs the reader by the throat and doesn't let go. Meanwhile, the FBI informs Ridley Jones, a magazine writer, that her late uncle, Max Smiley (who's really her biological father), is still alive and being sought by assorted international players on all sides of the law. Rapidly finding that little in her life is what it seems, Jones is horrified to be confronted with evidence indicating that Smiley is a misogynistic monster of the first order, who may have played a role in the murder of the reporter's husband. Unger's gifts for dialogue and pacing set this far above the standard novel of suspense and will leave many anxiously awaiting her third book.
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*Starred Review* Unger's popular debut, Beautiful Lies (2006), introduced readers to Ridley Jones, a New York freelance writer who rescues a toddler who wanders onto a busy Manhattan street. The press attention Ridley's heroic act attracts brings to the surface a series of startling truths, which Ridley's adoptive parents have kept from her all her life. (They gained custody of Ridley through Project Rescue, an organization with links to organized crime.) Ridley's late, beloved uncle Max, it seems, was really her father, a complicated man with a dark, twisted side. In this sizzling sequel, a shadowy figure in a trio of photos prompts Ridley to wonder whether Max is indeed dead. Unger's plot bursts from the starting gate and never lets up, as Ridley pieces together the puzzle that is her past. Just a footstep or two behind her is rogue FBI agent Dylan Grace, who has his own distressing motivations for wanting to know Max's whereabouts. The deeper Ridley digs, the more she doubts herself and the "uncle" she thought she knew. But Ridley (who suggests a more serious version of Janet Evanovich's self-deprecating Stephanie Plum) is never deterred: "Sometimes there is only one choice in the pursuit of the truth; sometimes turning away just isn't an option." Allison Block
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