Bailey Carpenter is a special investigator for a prestigious law firm in Miami, Fla. At age 29 her life seems perfect. She is a beautiful, independent young woman who lives in a luxurious condo in a classy downtown high rise, has a handsome boyfriend and loves her job.

Bailey and younger brother Heath soon will inherit their wealthy father’s sizable fortune. Their father was married twice before he married their mother, and although he had other children, he chose to leave his entire estate to Bailey and her brother. Currently the main stress in Bailey’s life is a lawsuit for a share of this inheritance brought by her half-brothers and sister. Gene, a high-powered district attorney, leads the siblings’ lawsuit.

One evening while on a surveillance job, Bailey’s idyllic life comes to a tragic halt. She is brutally assaulted, raped and beaten by an unknown attacker. She only remembers that her assailant was wearing Nike shoes and whispered in her ear, “Tell me that you love
me.”

Bailey’s gun and purse with ID, credit cards and keys were lost that night. Although her lock has been changed, she goes from room to room in her apartment armed with a pair of scissors to make sure that no one is hiding anywhere. She performs this ritual three or four times a day. Bailey becomes paranoid to the point that she can barely function, a prisoner in her own apartment. She is suspicious of any man she sees, wondering if he is the rapist.

Half-sister Claire, whom Bailey has only seen a time or two, and Claire’s precocious teenage daughter, Jade, appear at Bailey’s door to lend their aid. Heath warns Bailey that Claire and Jade are helping her only because they’re after her money. Claire seems sincere in her desire to help, but Bailey wonders if Claire has ulterior motives. Bailey enjoys Claire and Jade’s company, and they move in with her.

Bailey can’t get over the feeling that someone is watching her. Out of boredom and idle curiosity, and for entertainment she begins to use the high-powered binoculars that she once used in her work to spy on her neighbors — a take on the movie “Rear Window.”

One playboy-type guy in particular catches Bailey’s attention, and she becomes obsessed with him. He parades naked around his apartment and appears to be constantly admiring himself. Claire, Jade and Bailey dub him “Narcissus.”

One night Bailey is sure that Narcissus is staring back at her. Is it possible that he is the rapist? Bailey decides it is time to rely on her own skills and investigate the crime herself, even if it risks compromising the police investigation.

In this suspenseful novel, the author focuses heavily on the trauma of rape — the emotional, psychological and physical toll that such a vicious crime takes upon a person.

Bailey’s dysfunctional family makes an interesting subplot in the novel. The characters are engaging, and my favorite, the irrepressible Jade, is funny and irreverent. The novel has clever plot twists and turns, mystery and intrigue. The story is a guessing game, full of red herrings. The ending took me totally by surprise. I would look forward to Bailey Carpenter returning in a sequel, but unfortunately, Joy Fielding doesn’t write sequels or series.

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