Fade to Red
Linda Castillo
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Buy *Fade to Red* online

Fade to Red
Linda Castillo
384 pages
May 2004
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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Lindsey Metcalf gets very worried when, after getting a frantic phone message from her younger sister, all her subsequent attempts to contact Traci fail. She herself goes to Seattle only to discover new and horrifying details of her estranged sisterís unbridled and lurid lifestyle, such as working as a topless dancer in a club, having a warrant against her for possession of drugs, acting in unsavory movies and worse. Consumed with dread, Lindsey bitterly blames all this upon her own failure to protect Traci in the past.

The only person even slightly willing to help her in her search is ex-cop Striker, who himself is facing conviction and the probability of jail time in a police brutality case. In what could possibly be his last two weeks of freedom, Striker and Lindsey traverse the dangerously dark and sordid underbelly of society in their search for Traci. Together they struggle to resolve the case, come to terms with individual demons from the past even as they grow ever closer to each other, unaware that a deadly miasma of danger is gradually enveloping Lindsey.

While not for the faint of heart, this Linda Castillo tale is intense, gripping, well-plotted and tautly written. With unrelenting suspense and unflinching honesty, Castillo courageously unveils a somewhat unconventional story in which the main characters are themselves laboring under more than their share of pain and abuse. Consequently, they are convincing and slowly but surely seize the readersí collective sympathy and admiration for not just their strength in overcoming their dire pasts, but also in their relentless quest for justice in the present, despite considerable danger. As the story progresses, readers are dragged deeper and deeper into a murky labyrinth of vice and depravity which is as shocking as it is realistic. Even the romantic aspect of the tale doesnít feel forced, and adds an extra edge to the suspense. Despite its overtly simplistic epilogue, Fade to Red remains a powerful and compelling page-turner.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. © Rashmi Srinivas, 2004

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