A Massachusetts State Police investigator, Win Garano, is called from the National Forensic Academy in Tennessee by his boss, the District Attorney, Monique Lamont. She is running for governor and she plans to use a new crime initiative called ‘At Risk’ to employ new DNA technology so she sends Garano to Tennessee to work a twenty-year-old unsolved murder. Although he doesn’t want to work the case, he must obey her, so he starts the investigation, but, while carrying it out , a shocking violent act intervenes.
The characters draw you in from the beginning although they are one-dimensional, so, since you can’t get enough information about them, it is difficult to connect emotionally with them.
This novel is a whodunit written in present tense, what makes you feel part of it, and in a style accessible to any reader with quite plain language, despite being a crime book, because it doesn’t go into the facts in too much depth. In fact, the story is underdeveloped, the plot is sketchy, it doesn’t flow together, and nothing is fully explained. Therefore, this plot, intriguing but easy to lose the thread of it, requires all one’s powers of concentration.
That style is what really hooked me; I kept reading the book in order to know what happened. I couldn’t put it down. In my opinion, the novel starts well, keeping you in suspense at the beginning, but then, just as the plot and suspense are rising, you start the new chapter and find out that the detectives have it all solved so you think you have missed some crucial paragraph somehow. And, finally, the novel is finished suddenly as though the writer had a deadline so, when I got to the end, I realized that some of the facts were still unknown and I wasn’t really sure about what had happened. I suppose the reason of this bizarre end is that the writer had already planned to write the second part, entitled ‘The Front’.
To sum up, as far as I am concerned, the book is readable, albeit not as good as other Patricia Cornwell’s thrillers.