Walking home late one evening after drinks with friends, Holly Dutcher became the target of a serial rapist who encouraged her to fight him as he beat her up. Chicago sex crimes detective Sloan Pearson began her investigation with an interview at the victim’s apartment and discovered Holly was the real estate agent who had recently showed her some properties. Attempting to jog Holly’s memory for clues served ineffective but Sloan is certain there is a serial rapist stalking the city.
Between juggling concerns for her father’s heart disease, fueling the office gossips with rumors of an imminent breakup with her latest lover and a supervisor intent on getting her off the case, Sloan has difficulty staying focused on the rapist. Sloan is certain the man will strike again, maybe more forcefully but with no leads to pursue, she begins digging for common ties between the victims. The tenuous thread Sloan uncovers will lead her to an unpleasant showdown that will leave her position with the police force on shaky ground.
Although a credible level of tension is maintained throughout, there are some stumbling blocks to fully enjoying this procedural heavy thriller. Written largely in the first person, Schwegel spends an inordinate amount of time describing trivial details that do little to advance the story or develop a connection with the main characters. The inner office politics border on sexual harassment and it is difficult to envision a character as tough as Sloan is supposed to be putting up with it although she does pull off a terrific zinger at the conclusion.