A young woman named Grace Harrington marries Jack Angel, the man who sweeps her off her feet in just a few short months. They met in a park where Grace was watching her sister dance to music all by herself. Suddenly, Jack joined her and began to dance with her. Jack Angel was so kind to Millie, who had Down’s syndrome, that Grace immediately fell in love with him. He courted both of them and seemed very devoted at all times. He did not consider Millie a burden, as most others did, as even Millie’s parents did. He did everything for Grace, winning her over by catering to her and Millie and by providing for all of their needs, making their wishes come true. Grace could not believe how lucky she was to find someone so perfect!
Immediately after their marriage, however, Jack began to change. They flew to Thailand, and he disappeared on their wedding night. When he finally returned, some time the following day, Grace questioned him. He was angry, and his answer was cruel. He replied that he was not the man she thought he was; He had once committed murder, and he enjoyed it. He had created his image carefully, had taken a new name, and he was, essentially, nothing more than a madman who needed to witness and feel the panic and dread that others feel when they are threatened. He thrived on this. His psyche was fed by the fear of others and he took pleasure in their fright. He announced that she now belonged to him.
Jack had prepared for their future together with the utmost care, paying attention to every detail. He had thought of everything to prevent her from leaving him, from escaping his control, and their new home was built in such a way that it was a virtual prison for her once they returned from Thailand. Grace was certain that she could escape from his clutches, but she had no idea how diabolically his mind worked. He had anticipated her every move and had even informed the hotel clerks and manager that she was fragile emotionally and tended to create scenes. If she did, they were to call him immediately. He explained that she had already tried to commit suicide once in her life, using this information against her.
No one suspected him. He was attentive and loving in public. However, Grace was rarely out in public after landing in Thailand, and when she was, he was always with her, even back in England. Outsiders observed Grace with pity and offered sympathy to him because he cared so much for such a damaged person, and her sister was damaged as well. What could be better for Jack than is portrayal of himself as a caring, compassionate man? He was a well known lawyer with a top law firm. He specialized in defending abused women. He never lost a case. He was successful, handsome, polite and soft-spoken. No one would suspect him of abusing anyone, let alone women. No one would suspect that she was Jack’s prisoner.
Would he get away with his diabolical plan? It seems that although he kept Grace a prisoner, frightening her with threats about harming her sister whom she dearly loved, or even murdering her so that he would become Millie’s guardian, his ultimate goal was actually to make Millie his prisoner; She was young, and she was someone with the mind of a child that he could control and terrorize. He could feed on her fear for a long time.
Jack observed Grace constantly, laid traps for her so he could punish her and punish her he did. Slowly he removed one creature comfort after another until she was in a room with no access out and no street clothes or shoes. He was amusing himself by toying with Grace as he awaited the time that Millie would be old enough to leave her school and come to live with them.
Grace hoped to save Millie. She really thought that she would be able to escape from Jack, that she would be able to protect her sister, but soon, it became apparent that he had anticipated every fly in the ointment, and she was helpless. He took her credit cards, her passport and her cell phone. She had no way to cry out for help. She was literally trapped. As she grew pale and thin, friends of Jack asked after her health. She always answered in ways that would not incite Jack’s wrath. When he got very angry he refused to allow her to visit Millie or he withheld food for days. Grace had hoped someone would begin to suspect that something was not quite right in their perfect marriage. Would someone eventually notice? Would Grace Escape? Would she save Millie? Until the end, the reader will not know!
The fear of others that Jack needed in order to thrive, was palpable, and the author passed this same fear onto the reader who enters Grace’s head, feels her confusion, her terror, her disappointment and her frustration. When Grace can’t sleep, neither will the reader!
The narrator was perfect for this novel. She captured the mood of the lunatic and the fear of his victims. She portrayed each character as an individual, altering her tone and her emphasis as she spoke through them, so they were identifiable and very well developed.
Disclaimer: There is no sex or dirty language, but once you begin, you will not be able to put this book down. The narrative is compelling.