Two unlikely mothers race to uncover the truth behind a horrific attack—even after it becomes clear that the truth will destroy one of their families—in this shocking thriller that is "both timely and emotional" (Julie Clark, New York Times bestselling author).
"Slick, smart, layered, and full of surprises." —Lisa Unger
"An exciting thriller perfect for fans of Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Pieces of Her." —Buzzfeed
"Wholly addictive." —May Cobb
"Chavez is at the top of her game." —Jeneva Rose
"Fresh and surprising." —BookPage (starred review)
Named a "Summer Must-Read" by CrimeReads • Book Riot • BuzzFeed • Fresh Fiction • BookBub • Wealth of Geeks • Daily Times • Ground News • SheReads • Mercury News • East Bay Times • Boston Herald • The Orange County Register
Julia Bennett has worked hard to create a stable life for her daughter, Cora, in Southern California. So when Cora leaves for college, the worst thing Julia expects on move-in day is an argument with her ex-husband and his new wife. But a sudden attack leaves the campus stunned—and only Julia’s quick actions save Cora’s life. Shaken in the aftermath, and haunted by a dark secret, Julia starts to wonder: What if the attack wasn’t as random as everyone believes?
Newly pregnant Ren Petrovic has an unusual career—she’s a trained assassin, operating under a strict moral code. Ren wasn’t on campus that day, but she knows who was: her husband, Nolan. What she doesn’t know is why Nolan has broken their rules by not telling her about the job in advance. The more Ren looks into the attack, the more she begins to question: Who really hired Nolan? And why did one woman in the crowd respond so differently from all the rest?
Julia and Ren each want answers, but their searches quickly pit them against each other. One woman is a hired killer, but the other is a determined survivor. And both mothers will defend their families to the bitter end.
An empty-nester and a pregnant assassin share more similarities than they realize in this serviceable thriller from Chavez (Blood Will Tell). Julia Benet, 38, is waiting in line with her daughter, Cora, for move-in day at Anderson Hughes College in Point Loma, Calif., and is less than thrilled when her ex-husband, Eric, shows up with his new wife, Brie. When shots ring out on campus, Julia takes a bullet to the arm, and two people die—including Brie. At first, the incident is categorized as a motiveless mass shooting, but Julia comes to suspect it may have been a targeted hit on her. Meanwhile, Ren Petrovic, who is four months pregnant with her first child, is finding it increasingly inconvenient to be a professional assassin. When she catches news of the nearby Anderson Hughes shootings on TV, she comes to suspect—based on the timeline of the attack and the weapon used—it was a job by her assassin husband, Nolan. If it was his handiwork, why hadn't he told her about it? In chapters that alternate perspectives between Julia and Ren, the two women approach their investigations from different directions, and their lives eventually intersect. Erratic pacing and predictable plotting weigh down the proceedings, but Chavez excels at establishing her characters' voices (especially Ren's, who casually asks, "What did today's victims do to deserve to die?"). It's nothing especially memorable, but fans of character-driven thrillers may enjoy themselves.
I love this author’s books. They are all different but equally awesome. I hope she writes many more!