This novel has the seductive tension of two social opposites: Bree – with a wealthy family and a suffocatingly protective mother – and Leo, whose family disintegrated under the strain of his sister Michelle’s brutal murder. The narrative thread is split, allowing readers to explore diametrically opposed views of the same incident.
It is the anniversary of Michelle’s death and Leo’s mother is in the throes of a drink-fuelled nervous breakdown. He leaves the house to escape both her and the horrors of the police photographs which graphically document Michelle’s wounds.
Bree, rebelling against the stifling safety of her neighbourhood, risks a visit to the more dangerous part of town and is kidnapped by Leo. The two characters are marvellously realised: Bree’s terror and Leo’s obsessive determination to avenge his sister’s death are starkly played out.
As the night goes on and Leo’s need to kill Bree diminishes, the interplay between the two falters as they draw closer but becomes more assured at the book’s conclusion when Bree understands that she doesn’t simply want to survive the kidnap but survive it well, to leave behind some support for the kidnapper she has come to understand and to befriend.