The award-winning New York Times bestselling author of After I'm Gone, The Most Dangerous Thing, I'd Know You Anywhere, and What the Dead Know brings back private detective Tess Monaghan, introduced in the classic Baltimore Blues, in an absorbing mystery that plunges the new parent into a disturbing case involving murder and a manipulative mother
"I'm every woman's worst nightmare. . . . Because whenever a woman kills her child every other mother—at least every one who's honest with herself—has a flash of sympathy. Not empathy. They don't want to have done it, cannot imagine doing it. But they know."
On a searing August day, Melisandre Harris Dawes committed the unthinkable: she left her two-month-old daughter locked in a car while she sat nearby on the shores of the Patapsco River. Melisandre was found not guilty by reason of criminal insanity, although there was much skepticism about her mental state. Freed, she left the country, her husband, and her two surviving children, determined to start over.
But now Melisandre has returned to Baltimore to meet with her estranged teenage daughters and film the reunion for a documentary. The problem is, she relinquished custody and her ex isn't sure he approves.
Now that she's a mother herself—short on time and patience—Tess Monaghan wants nothing to do with a woman crazy enough to have killed her own child. But her mentor and close friend Tyner Gray, Melisandre's lawyer, has asked Tess and her new partner, retired Baltimore PD homicide detective Sandy Sanchez, to assess Melisandre's security needs.
Tess has always felt that her curiosity about others is her greatest strength. Yet the imperious Melisandre is someone she cannot begin to understand, much less empathize with. A decade ago, a judge ruled that Melisandre was beyond rational thought. But was she? Tess tries to keep her distance from her mercurial yet confident client. This strategy gets tricky after Melisandre becomes a prime suspect in a murder.
And as her doubts about Melisandre grow, Tess realizes that she's under scrutiny as well, followed by a judgmental stalker with an ax to grind . . .