Then Paul is murdered during a robbery in front of Claire. Lost in grief she is further shocked to find that her home has been burgled during his funeral. Searching for insurance documents on her husband's computer she comes across some hidden videos that shatters her image of her husband. Not having spoken to her sister for years, she still decides that she needs Lydia’s help.
Understand that this is less than a fifth of the way into the story, and that so many twists and turns and revelations follow that I have opted out rather than try to describe them without spoiling the beautiful house-of-cards plot constructed my Ms. Slaughter. I wasn’t blowing smoke when I called Ms. Slaughter fearless, either; this is a visceral novel that doesn't dissemble or shy away from brutality and violence, both physical and emotional. Yet even as it stares into the abyss I found this to be a work full of strength and hope, both embodied in the touching and psychologically nuanced relationship between the sisters, Lydia and Claire.
Both are fully-realized characters, and they grow and evolve and deepen as Ms. Slaughter steers them into ever deeper and darker situations that test their resolve. Just about every character in the book feels real and true, and Ms. Slaughter’s prose never fails to captivate. Her first-person narration of Sam’s story, the father, is particularly vivid, and just about broke my heart.
If all of this wasn’t enough, Ms. Slaughter shows a very deft hand in action scenes, bringing the physical violence to life without shying from the pain and blood. I may not have mentioned it yet, but her prose is smooth and assured and the setting is vivid and feels true-to life.
As the end this novel comes to terms, with grace and skill, with the fact that life is very seldom about winning and losing, but more often about surviving. That is more than enough.