Warner, 2006 (2006)
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Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
ydney Chapin long since fled her controlling widowed mother Lydia (CEO of the family multinational Chapin Industries) to live her own life, working as a cocktail waitress and studying for a law degree. More recently, she has re-connected with her sister, brilliant Washington Post reporter Elizabeth Creay. But now Elizabeth has been found - brutally tortured and murdered - by her young daughter Amanda.
.C. detectives Darius Train (a massive former football star) and Jack Cassian (who joined the police after his policeman brother was left brain dead) are called to investigate. An obvious clue quickly points to Jerome Washington, a local drug dealer who previously served time. Influenced by the powerful Lydia Chapin, the commissioner of police pressures the detectives for a quick arrest and conviction. But they - and Sydney - begin to uncover more, including a connection to the historical U.S. eugenics movement and the sterilization, abuse, and use as human guinea pigs of institutionalized children.
n particular, Sydney discovers that her sister visited the
Virginia Juvenile Institute for the Mentally Defective
just before her death, and finds a connection to someone in high political office. Soon the hired gun who organized her sister's murder sees Sydney as another loose end. But his attempts to kill her are foiled by Sydney herself and by Cassian, while an immediate attraction develops between the two. In parallel, the detectives investigate Elizabeth's violent ex-husband Leighton Creay, and wonder how he manages to support himself in high style without working.
hough the surprise in the conclusion seemed somewhat forced and the villain unlikely, I appreciated the reminder of what went on (for a long time) and who was involved in American eugenics. I also enjoyed spending time with the thriller's engaging characters, and the constant action in
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