Rachel Stroeb’s last thoughts are of her children as bullets rip through her and her husband, Daniel, the night they return from Madrid. Their attempt to talk their globetrotting son back from Madrid has been unsuccessful. Hearing the front door opening and footsteps coming up the stairs, Rachel assumes it is her teenaged daughter, Elise, returning home from her neighboring boyfriend’s house. She is wrong - dead wrong, as it turns out.
By the time Jeremy is contacted in Europe about the deaths and the arrangements, his uncle has not only begun managing the family’s affairs but also prepared to assume guardianship of underage Elise. With an aging grandfather, the only other option for Elise is for her errant brother to remain at home, providing the stable environment the terrorized teenager so desperately needs.
When Jeremy does return to the exclusive Lotus Island in Miami Beach after the funeral, his life forever altered by the violence in his parents’ home, his rebellion is predictable and perhaps justified. Unfortunately, the rift between parents and son can never be healed, changing the family dynamic forever. Jeremy is left with the bitter taste of regret in his mouth.
At twenty-two, Jeremy is ill-prepared for the ordeal ahead of him but outraged enough by events to form a plan when the police seem uninterested in pursuing the case beyond a simple burglary. Jeremy plans to find employment with his mother’s very successful CPA firm and take classes at his father’s university in order to gain the insider information that might lead him to the murderer.
From the first page, when the silent killer stalks the unsuspecting Strobes, a fast-paced plot lends an air of authenticity to a thriller that holds together well, from the shocking murders to an island confrontation where the killer makes his final clever move. Between contentious family dynamics and a greedy uncle and the increasing threat of violence as Jeremy gets to close to the truth, brother and sister struggle with their relationship.
Elise is severely traumatized by the event, and Jeremy is soon sidetracked by youthful hubris and a desire to do the right thing. As it turns out, Jeremy’s parents are far more complex people than the predictable ones he has taken for granted all his life: an ambitious, brilliant mother and a politically active father who has garnered his own enemies on campus: “My son has the character to become the man I am too weak to be.”
The Florida setting yields rich local color and a motive for murder, lifelong friends, business partners and relatives among the suspects, although the police have quickly lost interest, leaving the burden on Jeremy. Given his youth, it isn’t surprising when the young man gets sidetracked by a beautiful woman who has an agenda of her own. The orphaned brother and sister face danger together as Elise recovers her memory and Jeremy learns the risk of prodding a killer into the open. This twenty-two-year-old son has something to prove before he can move on with his life.