When Ruth Lasseter hires an escort to cover for a workplace affair, she lets a deeply disturbed young man into her life. Though she survives the consequence, she's left with the lingering suspicion that he hasn't simply disappeared. He's still out there, taking out his problems on other woman just like her.
There was a moment when Ruth had her chance to stop him for good. But she didn't take it.
Now she sees that closure-for both of them-lies on the other side of that line.
British writer Gallagher (Nightmare, with Angel) has written a smashing serial-killer thriller that embraces all the conventions of the genre while adding several page-turning twists and subtexts of its own. When, in order to protect her married lover, Ruth Lasseter uses an escort service to employ a companion, Tim Hagan, for a company event, it comes as no surprise to the reader that the hired help turns out to be serious trouble. But Ruth isn't your standard damsel in distress. She's a resident British alien working for a Philadelphia publisher, emotionally stressed enough to discuss her plans with her imaginary child but strong enough to flaunt her too-young escort in a corporate setting. Even after the Hagan reveals his true nature and she and security guard Aidan Kincannon foil his plans for her in a struggle that leads to the madman's presumed death, Ruth continues to be haunted by the young man, and delves into his past. As she discovers, Hagan may not be dead, and may not be the man everyone assumes him to be. And, as she uncovers the macabre and unsettling story of his childhood, Ruth finds herself pushing away Aidan and anyone else who might help her regain her emotional equilibrium. The final, inevitable showdown between a killer driven by inescapable demons and a woman who seeks understanding as much as revenge proves as powerful as the promise that Gallagher has built up, page upon gripping page of this compelling, unusually sensitive chiller. Mystery Guild and Doubleday Book Club selections; Literary Guild alternate.