Rachel, an 18-year-old Columbia University student, descends into the netherworld of runaways and predators to find her sister, Olivia, who has suddenly disappeared.
After getting a job in a strip joint where Olivia worked, then doing private shows in the homes of rich clients, Rachel discovers that Olivia has been abducted by a killer who auctions the deaths of young girls in an eBay of agony.
When she finds Olivia, Rachel becomes the killer’s next target.
Genre: detective mystery-thriller
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Date of Re-Release: September 23, 2014.
This book will take you for a ride that you'll want to get off, but you just can't tear yourself away from it until you know how it all turns out. Initially I wasn't too sure what to make of this book, but about an eighth of the way in it really picked up and the storyline became much clearer. This book has strong female protagonists who survive in some of the worst conditions and depravity known to humans. The question is, can they survive long enough to get themselves out, using only their wits, and relying on each other when possible?
Rachel is absolutely brilliant. At 18 she goes to Columbia University and is fast-tracked for a Nobel Prize according to everyone who knows her. And her adopted sister is just as brilliant, set to enroll in Harvard at the tender age of 16. These two girls have the world at their feet, and are extremely close. Or so Rachel thought, until Olivia disappears and all kinds of strange things come to light. But Rachel doesn't care what her sister has gotten herself tangled up in, she's determined to find her before it's too late.
Rachel is a fount of strength, which she must rely on if she's going to survive the shock and horror of retracing, and following in, Olivia's steps. Her first time stripping in a peepshow joint is almost too much for her, but thoughts of what might be happening to Olivia keep her going, and coming back shift after shift. Especially because she knows Olivia is on borrowed time. As a diabetic on insulin she needs regular shots to stay alive, and she only ever carries enough for one day.
As Rachel delves deeper and deeper into the seedy underbelly of NYC and the depraved men who live there, she learns more than she wants to know about what Olivia was doing. And eventually she understands why, which leads her to take up where Olivia left off. Now Rachel is struggling to save not one life but two. Will her own life be hanging in the balance before all is said and done?
Florentin has done an excellent job of developing the raw emotions of predator and prey in this mentally stimulating story. He does an incredible job of defining the antagonists, how they think, and in at least one case, how he became who he is by the time Olivia crosses his path. The horror of what goes on is very visceral, and sadly it probably has its roots in reality, if it isn't happening in similar ways as I write this review.
The arc of the story is well blended to match the character development, as well as the pacing of the increasing levels of suspense. Without a doubt this book will keep you up late at night, unable to set it down until you've read the very last page. It may keep you up well after that, but that is an entirely different issue. . . Or is it? While this is rated for teens and young adults, I wouldn't want my soon to be 14-year-old niece reading this anytime soon. I'd say 18 would be about the youngest I'd recommend for this book, but that's just one woman's opinion. Maybe it would be good for younger girls who are more prone to become runaways or slip through the cracks - hopefully they might think twice about trying it on their own after reading this. That's not to say this book should be rated differently, but it does contain some very disturbing scenes. On the other hand it also demonstrates the power of love and of human perseverance, so it balances out fairly evenly. Regardless, it is a powerful read, and one well worth your time if you enjoy suspense, strong characters, and excellent pacing.