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on May 9, 2011
Sharon Potts' second novel opens with terrifying scenes of the worst nightmare of every parent of a high-school-age girl: Two young girls, in South Beach, Florida during their Spring break, decide to drive down to Key Largo for one night of rebellion against parental curbs before their freshman year in college, with the worst possible results.
The scene then shifts to Robbie Ivy [nee Roberta Brooks], her kitten, Matilda, her transvestite friend and neighbor Gabriele. A young woman with commitment issues [both personal and professional] who was formerly a CPA and now works as a bartender at a trendy South Beach club, Robbie answers her door to find there a man she hadn't seen in 18 years, when she was seven years old - the father she had not seen or heard from since. Just as startling is the reason for his visit: He is searching for the 18-year-old half-sister she didn't know existed, who has disappeared. The reader finds out quickly that the teenager described in the opening pages is none other than this hitherto-unknown sister.
The author poses, throughout this novel, the potentially trite question of what exactly is "family," then proceeds to answer it in a fully satisfying manner that is anything but trite. The author brings back in this follow-up to her first novel, "In Their Blood," Jeremy Stroeb, Robbie's erstwhile boyfriend now her [platonic] best friend, with whom she shared traumatic events in the earlier book that included the murder of Jeremy's parents just over a year ago.
The South Beach club scene is exemplified by this description: "Glittering people were everywhere, like glowing algae at the bottom of the sea. There was an elaborate soundstage on the dance floor and a DJ manipulating the electronics with the dexterity of a brain surgeon."
Robbie is driven to find her sister, in every sense of the word, and with Jeremy's help sets out to do just that, to her own peril. Neither she nor the reader knows who can be trusted, and who is the enemy, as bodies pile up. The suspense mounts as the glamorous façade is seen as a trap for the unsuspecting and the naïve.