Grace Blades is a child born and raised for the first few years in a trailer park by parents who neglected her in many ways and were physically abusive to her. In a substance-induced rage one fateful day, her mother slits her father’s throat with a knife and then stabs herself in the belly in a murders-suicide. Grace ends up in the foster care system in one bad home after another. She gets switched around often because the foster parents take on special needs children which means they get more money. Therefore, since she is a good and quiet child, she keeps having to move around because she doesn’t bring her foster parents in as much money.
In a Cinderella-type ending, Grace ends up being adopted by a rich couple who helped shaper her career decision to be a psychologist because her adopted father was a psychologist. She does quite well for herself in her private practice, and that is helped a lot by the fact that when her adopted parents died they left her a millionaire. I personally wasn’t a fan of this overdone Cinderella twist and felt that it took a lot away from the book. When a murderer is after Grace it made it all together too easy for her to hide and plan a counterattack. She spends money without even caring how much it is costing. Hotel rooms, dinners, fancy wigs and other accoutrements, car rentals. I think if she had been poor and had to struggle to afford things then it would’ve made her search for who was after her much more interesting.
Despite this drawback, Kellerman once again delivers a psychological thriller like none other. With his own background in psychology, Kellerman is able to give the reader a more rounded character with a lot more insight into her psyche and the psyche of those around her. At one point in the book I thought Grace was a psychopath and I enjoyed the questions that this raised in my mind of nature versus nurture. Grace has psychopathic qualities when it is mentioned several times in the book that she watched how others reacted to situations and then copied their smiles or other expressions and comments so that she would appear more socially acceptable and “normal”. However, I came to the conclusion that Grace’s emotional growth had been severely stunted by her upbringing. Although she is genius-level book smart, her early and long-term childhood emotional neglect left her stunted in this area. The development of Grace was perhaps the most enjoyable part of the book to me because it appealed to my own psych training. Overall, well done, and I would definitely recommend this book to others to read.
Disclaimer: I received a free ebook copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.