It’s been seven years since Reeve LeClaire, the heroine in Carla Norton’s What Doesn’t Kill Her, was rescued after being held prisoner as a teen by Daryl Wayne Flint, who’s serving time at a psychiatric hospital in Washington State. Reeve is now a student at UC Berkeley and feeling that her life “has finally bloomed and ripened.”
But a wrench is thrown into her newly idyllic world when Flint escapes and commits murder on his way to reclaim Reeve, his greatest obsession. Instead of running scared, she decides to confront the monster by teaming up with former FBI agent Milo Bender–the man who helped rescue her–to track down Flint. After spending four years in close proximity with her kidnapper, who else but Reeve would know best the inner workings of Flint’s twisted mind?
Norton keeps the pacing swift in this second series installment, after The Edge of Normal. Reeve is based on a real woman the author covered as a true crime writer, and Norton compassionately details the survivor mindset–what it takes for someone to withstand years of torture in captivity and the lingering psychological effects after release. Norton also shows how the ordeal can derail the lives of survivors’ loved ones.
The dialogue is stilted and expository at times, and Reeve oddly seems to be the only person among seasoned FBI agents and therapists to see the obvious when it comes to clues and Flint’s intentions, but Reeve’s voice and fragile courage are welcomed in crime fiction, representing those who refuse to be victims.
This review originally appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers and is reprinted here with permission.