Assistant D.A. Alexa Hamilton has just been handed the kind of case that makes careers: the trial of accused serial killer Luke Quentin. Sifting through mountains of forensic evidence, Alexa relentlessly builds her case and prepares for a high-stakes trial . . . until threatening letters throw her private life into turmoil.
The letters are addressed to Alexa's beautiful 17-year-old daughter, Savannah, who Alexa has raised alone since her painful divorce years before. Alexa is certain that Quentin is behind the letters - and that they are too dangerous to ignore. Suddenly Alexa must make the toughest choice of all - and send her daughter back to the very place that Alexa swore she would never return: to her ex-husband's world of southern tradition, long memories, and the antebellum charm of Charleston.
While Alexa's trial builds to a climax in New York, her daughter is settling into southern life, discovering a part of her family history she's never known. As a family's wounds are exposed and the healing begins, Alexa and Savannah, after a season in different worlds, will come together again - strengthened by the trials they have faced, changed by the mysteries they have unraveled, armed with miracles that are uniquely their own.
A veteran of exploring wealthy family dynamics, Steel now flirts with the thriller, introducing two familiar fixtures, the serial killer and the strong single female attorney determined to get him convicted. Unfortunately, her focus quickly shifts away from New York ADA Alexa Hamilton and her conflict with rapist-murderer Luke Quentin to Alexa's 17-year-old daughter, Savannah, and her relationship with her father, Tom Beaumont, who broke Alexa's heart when he divorced her to remarry his first wife. After Savannah begins receiving threatening letters sent from Luke or an associate, Alexa asks Tom to provide Savannah a haven, which he does over his wife's objections. The visit helps Savannah grow closer to her dad and stepfamily; it also gives Alexa, on weekend visits, an opportunity to heal in classic Steel style, but the resulting courtroom drama feels rushed and inexpert. Thriller fans will be disappointed with all the family bonding, though Steel's many readers will, of course, devour this.