From Publishers Weekly
British author Walters's harrowing 12th psychological chiller spotlights violent suffering and hard-won triumph for Connie Burns, a 36-year-old Reuters war correspondent who crosses a sadistic mercenary alternately identified as John Harwood, Kenneth McConnell and Keith MacKenzie. When she finds MacKenzie training Iraqi policemen in Baghdad in 2004, she links him to serial killings in Sierra Leone two years earlier. An enraged MacKenzie kidnaps, tortures, rapes and releases Connie, who is then too traumatized to coherently divulge details of her abduction. She retreats to a country house in Dorset, where she puzzles over the troubled past of the house ("a place of anguish") and hesitantly befriends her neighbors, the handsome Dr. Peter Coleman and Jess Derbyshire, a reclusive young woman who helps Connie heal from her ordeal. While she gradually recovers, she also lives with the surety that MacKenzie will come after her again. Walters (Disordered Minds
) delivers an intense, engrossingly structured tour de force about survival and "the secret of freedom, courage." (Aug.)
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In this uneven but scary thriller, Connie Burns, a white Zimbabwean war correspondent for Reuters, investigates five gruesome murders in Sierra Leone and follows a hunch, convinced that a British mercenary is using the mayhem of war zones to disguise his taste for raping and killing women. After a mysterious assailant kidnaps her and holds her prisoner for three days in Iraq, she becomes convinced that her quarry is now hunting her. She flees to Dorset, rents an isolated house that turns out to have a troubled history, and is befriended by a reclusive neighbor who, some years before, lost her entire family in a car crash. Given the ultra-contemporary world of the early part of the novel, the scenes in Dorset, where the author herself lives, seem parochial, but this does not lessen Walters's ability to use horror-movie logic to terrifying effect.
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