The traumatic disappearance and death of her childhood friend Lianne Gagnold has left a permanent scar on the psyche of
rookie Toronto reporter Evie Jones. Lianneís death at age eleven still haunts Evie, now twenty-one, the man responsible never arrested by authorities. Given a recent spate of missing young women, Evie is assigned by her boss to write a retrospective of the last few decades such crimes have occurred in the area.
While police are closing in on a man they consider a serial murderer responsible for the most recent killings, the press shadowing every move for the chance at a story, Evie has found that her recent access to the LexisNexis database allows her to search not only for information on recent cases
but Lianne's as well.
Everything this character does in her life as a reporter is meant to distance herself from the sense of being victimized by what happened to Lianne--and by extension might have happened to Evie as well. Even her own motherís terror during the event remains etched in Evieís memory, the years insufficient to erase those memories. Now living alone in an upstairs apartment in a somewhat seedy neighborhood, Evie conquers her fears on a daily basis, even when she has good reason to fear for her safety. Unwilling to give in to such a hopeless existence, Evie is nonetheless aware of how easily young women can be plucked from the streets, never to be seen again. (Perhaps it is her age, but much of Evieís risky behavior is inspired by her compulsion to know the truth, to force situations, the need for an answer often dominating common sense.)
Toronto is the setting for the mystery, then and now, a blend of the years of Evieís childhood, from hippies and drugs to the culture shock of the Manson murders in the States to a modern city of changing demographics and a countryside virtually unchanged by encroaching public needs. Although the murders and acute public interest are ongoing, the particulars of unsolved past crimes have convinced Evie that her friendís killer is not the man police have long suspected but never been able to locate. The computer searches, past and present, merge in a complex mix of vague memories and actual facts.
Longtime friend David Patton provides the only calming voice in Evieís growing certainty that Lianneís killer is not only still around but may have her in his sights.
The author ratchets up the tension with each of her protagonistís forays into dangerous territory, even though much of the drama is created by Evieís compulsive actions--a testament to how childhood memories, especially when accompanied by traumatic events, affect the way a character approaches the world as an adult. Some things can just never be made right. Though Evie frequently veers toward the edge of hysteria, she hesitates to accept any assistance. There are times she would be wiser to avoid the dark places her curiosity takes her in a novel where anything is possible, where little girls and women alone can be taken away by monsters, relegated to small headstones in a cemetery or crime statistics on a computer database.