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My Lost Daughter    by Nancy Taylor Rosenberg Amazon.com order for
My Lost Daughter
by Nancy Taylor Rosenberg
Order:  USA  Can
Forge, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Nancy Taylor Rosenberg's My Lost Daughter follows The Cheater as the fourth in her mystery series starring Lily Forrester, now a judge in Ventura County, California. As in the previous episode, Lily shares the limelight with her friend, FBI Special Agent Mary Stevens.

Busy as always, Lily is happily living with her fiancÚ, fellow judge Chris Rendell, and worrying about her plan to disclose to him her dark secret. After being brutally raped alongside her then young daughter Shana, Lily shot the perpetrator. Though she later discovered the man she killed was not the rapist, he was a vicious murderer. Now Lily wonders if revealing her vigilante action to Chris will destroy her new relationship.

At the Behavioral Analysis Unit in Quantico, Virginia, Mary is uncovering a serial killer who 'has found a way to indulge his bloodlust, and at the same time, reduce his chances of apprehension' by picking suicidal victims. That trail eventually leads Mary to a suspicious new corpse in Ventura County and to a reunion with Lily. There are further deaths.

Lily becomes increasingly concerned about her daughter Shana, who has almost completed her law studies at Stanford. Shana has just been dumped by her boyfriend and is distraught - she hasn't been sleeping and has stopped going to classes. Lily takes Shana to a private hospital named Whitehall, seeking medication to help her sleep. But after assessment, hospital staff tell Lily that Shana is a drug addict (photos seem to verify it) who has signed a voluntary commitment order.

Readers learn early that it's a scam to milk the drug companies. Shana is given psychotropic drugs and locked in a padded cell. When she's released from isolation, she gets to know her fellow inmates. One of them, the drop-dead gorgeous Alex, helps her. The other patients look up to Alex and, oddly, he seems to have the run of the establishment. Shana falls hard for him, but also becomes determined to 'find a way to put Whitehall out of business.'

After a murder inside Whitehall, Shana is the chief suspect. Lily finally is able to talk to her on the phone and rushes to her side. But though she extracts her daughter from the mental institute, a killer follows them home. Though its characterization and dialogue at times hits false notes, My Lost Daughter is an intense thriller that addresses a real and disturbing problem.

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