Publication year: 2011
Format: Audio
Publisher: Audible
Narrator: Bernadette Dunne
Running Time: 9 hrs and 25 minutes

Detective Morgan Holiday and her long-time partner Henry Zimmerman are called to see a body. It turns out that the man was shot in a high-powered rifle. Morgan and Henry interview the people who found the body and everyone around the crime scene but they don’t have many clues. Morgan is an experienced detective. Henry is retiring and she’s given a new partner, who looks down on her. Morgan is not happy about it because she has more than enough problems in her personal life: her mother suffers from Alzheimer’s and Morgan couldn’t take care of her full-time, so her mother is now in a home. Morgan visits her every Sunday but her mother doesn’t even recognize her anymore and waits for her son to visit. He lives in Chicago and only stops by a couple of time a year. Morgan is divorced and is struggling to find her own sexuality.

Lois Burnett and Sophie Long are in their late sixties, early seventies and looking forward to their quiet retirement days. Unfortunately, things don’t go as planned. Lois’ adopted daughter is a drug addict and she has stolen the money they had saved earlier in their lives. Even though Ruby is now in jail, the women didn’t get their money back. When Sophie is in a car accident, it becomes clear quickly that their pensions just aren’t going to be enough. They decide to do a few sniper jobs in order to pay their bills and even get a little bit of extra. However, they decide that all of the clients have to be strangers and the victims will have to be scum, and not decent people. They would question the would-be clients and research the would-be victims themselves. They stick to the latter rule; their victims are pedophiles and stalkers. But they break the first rule pretty quickly.

Sophie is a former Catholic school teacher and Lois is a former nurse. Lois was in Vietnam and learned how to shoot there. She lived through rather traumatic experiences there and brought with her an orphan Vietnamese girl whom she adopted.

I really enjoyed this book. In addition to Lois, Sophie, and Morgan, there are a couple of other POV characters. One of them is Lois and Sophie’s client Celia Morning who finds out that a pedophile has moved into her neighborhood. I think Miller made a great choice by showing us what a menace the man is and why someone would want to pay to kill him.

I actually felt that Lois and Sophie’s part of the book was the most lighthearted because of the silly secondary characters and the somewhat absurd premise. Celia’s part was quite horrifying, especially when we started to find out what the man was doing, and Morgan’s part was depressing and grim because of her mother. Morgan’s mother manages to escape the facility and comes to Morgan, asking after Morgan’s dead father.

The book has a few delightful secondary characters, such as middle-aged Myrtle whose girlfriend has left her for a former Playboy model. Myrtle is grief stricken but determined to get another girlfriend. The characters feel like individuals and real people.

The books asks questions about the modern justice system where sometimes the guilty are better protected than the innocent. Who can and should choose who lives and who dies?

Advertisements