The Anniversary is a nicely unnerving quick summer read. As author Amy Gutman sets up the story line, introducing the malicious intent that surfaces throughout, an air of incipient menace keeps the reader turning pages.
Three women are linked to an infamous serial killer: his attorney, his girlfriend and a female crime writer who chronicled his murderous spree. All three receive "Anniversary" greetings -- unsigned, of course. Well aware that the man was executed five years ago, each woman minimizes the importance of her message. But they shouldn't, because someone else has taken up the torch…
After one of the women is killed, the former girlfriend of the serial killer, now with a new life and identity, starts looking over her shoulder. Laura, now Callie, is afraid she's being followed, and with good reason. She is indeed in the sights of someone intent on revenge. When another woman is brutally attacked, Callie purchases a gun and learns to use it. Overcoming anxiety about her prior notoriety and afraid the press will catch on, Callie gives the police as much information as possible, putting herself in jeopardy from the killer. She sends her young daughter to the grandparents, removing the child from the line of fire. Although there is clearly a link to the serial killer, as well as a further connection between the three women, police are unable to narrow down their suspects even as they sift through clues and establish inter-agency communications.
Callie is determined not to sacrifice her new life as well as the old. She sifts through the faces and memories of her past, along with long-buried experiences, aware of something important lurking just beneath her consciousness. As her personal relationships fall apart, Carrie isolates herself to remain vigilant. Finally, face to face and recognizing the killer, Callie absolves herself of a burden she has carried for years, a guilt that has blocked any attempts at happiness. Refusing to capitulate to the past, Callie confronts her fear in a fight for her life.