Kensington Books
ISBN-13: 978-0-7582-5857-1
ISBN-10: 0-7582-5872-7
August 2012

Church Island, Washington - The Present

Ava Garrison's two-year-old son Noah went missing from his bed two years ago. It destroyed Ava mentally. She has recently returned home from an in-patient mental facility, but now she keeps hearing her son crying. One night she thinks she sees Noah's shadowed form on the dock, and she leaps into the water to save him. Austin Dern, a man newly hired by Ava's husband and successful attorney, Wyatt, saves her. Since Ava had never seen Dern and had no say in his hiring, she is suspicious of his presence on the island, but he also sexually attracts her as Wyatt no longer does. Dern is ostensibly at her estate to take care of the horses, since her cousin Ian was such a poor manager.

Ava and her cousins inherited Neptune's Gate, a mansion built by her great-great-grandfather, along with most of the land on Church Island. A wise business woman, Ava made her own wealth and bought out all her cousins' shares except for her cousin Jewel-Anne, who refuses to sell. They all live at Neptune's Gate, and now everyone thinks Ava crazy. Wyatt subtly and constantly threatens Ava with her possible return to the mental hospital. Ava's biggest problem is that she can't remember what happened two years ago, despite a visiting psychiatrist and her covert trips to a hypnotist. Everyone says Noah probably wandered from his bed and died in a freak accident, even though his body has never been found. Ava, however, believes Noah is still alive, and she is determined to find him. It seems her family wants to prevent her search.

On the island there is a closed insane asylum and sightings of a missing murderer who escaped the asylum years ago. The death of Ava's brother two years before Noah's disappearance also affects Ava's state of mind. People on the mainland town of Anchorville find Church Island sinister. Readers will, too, as they encounter the cousins Ian, Trent, Jacob, and Jewel-Ann. Ava certainly can't trust her hired help anymore, one of whom used to be her best friend Khloe. Khloe's mother is the cook since there are few other employers on the island. Nor can Ava trust Wyatt, whom she suspects of infidelity, but is all this distrust from a sane or an insane mind at work? When two people are found murdered, to her family and the police, the evidence points to Ava as the killer. Ava still wonders if she can trust Dern, even after he has saved her several times. What is his motive for being on the island? Is he some obscene cohort working with her jealous cousins or worse, Wyatt, to help drive her insane? Ava's journey to find Noah is a labyrinth where each corner is determined by what she finally remembers. This is a mystery fraught with tension and misdirection readers are sure to enjoy.

Robin Lee