Sue Walker, Author . Morrow $24.95 (307p) ISBN 978-0-06-072609-6

A shared, violent past haunts former patients of an Edinburgh adolescent psych unit in BBC reporter Walker's uneven debut thriller. In 2004, Innes Haldane, a graduate of the Unit, learns of the death of one of her former Unit friends, Isabella "Abby" Velasco. Flashing between the present and 1977, when the teens were institutionalized together, Walker shows her characters as deeply troubled kids and as variously disturbed adults plagued by guilty memories of a camping trip gone wrong. What happened back then? And does it spell death today? When Innes leaves her London job to look into Abby's alleged suicide, she learns that just before her death, Abby had started seeing Danny Rintoul, an accused rapist and former occupant of the Unit. Danny, she quickly learns, is another suspected suicide. Meanwhile, heartless stockbroker Alex Baxendale, another Unit grad, resists uncovering long-buried secrets, and Dr. Simon Caldwell, also a former Unit resident, is looking for clues to his daughter's kidnapping. Walker gives her characters so many secrets—and keeps hinting around at that old, big one—that it can be exhausting. She characterizes and summarizes hurriedly, rushing from one revelation to the next, and the psychology is often shallow (bad behavior is blamed on bad parents and bad therapy; redemption is found in confession and good therapy). But the ending offers many grisly surprises. Agent, Patty Moosbrugger . (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 09/20/2004
Release date: 10/01/2004
Mass Market Paperbound - 352 pages - 978-0-06-072612-6
Paperback - 307 pages - 978-0-06-083265-0
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