State Trooper Tessa Leoni’s husband is dead, shot by her service gun, in self-defence, she claims. Her six-year-old daughter is missing. It’s up to Boston detective DD Warren to delve into Tessa’s past to understand what has happened to the little girl. As DD races to find little Sophie, Tessa is engaged in the tightrope walk of her life, not knowing who to trust and with one goal in mind – the safe return of her daughter.
When you’re asked, ‘Who do you love more?’ life becomes very simple – and complicated by the choices that have to be made. For Tessa, those choices have to be made in a split second and alter the course of three lives dramatically – her husband’s, her’s and her daughter’s life.
Gardner’s characters are as well-drawn as ever – showing how even the best of us has a second side. Mostly, we don’t have to draw on that ‘bad’ side, but how far would you go to save your child? Would you sacrifice some of your humanity, some of your sanity, some of your sleep? Tessa answers those questions in a very direct fashion; even when lying in hospital, she is strategising her next move and the move after that. Her character is one of focus, clear-headed for now in the chase for her daughter, but not without knowing of the crash that’s about to come and the cost she is paying for ignoring warning signs in the past.
Meanwhile, Gardner’s regular cop, DD Warren is on the trail, teaming up with ex-lover Bobby Dodge who is liaison with the state troopers. DD is newly pregnant and not at all sure how she feels about that, whilst feeling hugely vulnerable about searching for a fellow female law enforcement officer’s missing daughter.
On a bigger scale, the book explores the tightrope that women walk in the workforce, the juggling of love for your child versus love for – and a need to do – paid work outside the home. In this case, DD and Tessa are women in a male-dominated environment and the book explores how that teases out, particularly in relation to motherhood, pending or current.
On another level, the book warns against the presumptions we all make, personally and professionally. Here, nothing is as it seems, and people’s inability to look beyond the obvious changes people’s lives and loyalties and the perception of others. If all is not what it seems, then what is it ….? And why… ?
And, how far would you go to save your child? Who do you love more?
I liked this book a lot; it’s an interesting perspective on how all our juggling can have a cost – but sometimes the cost to ourselves would be much higher if we didn’t juggle at all.