By now we all know how trouble follows Madeline, and it shows up like clockwork on a yearly basis despite Madeline putting geographical distance between herself and the site of her previous encounters with life endangering trouble with a capital T. In the wake of the crazy train that wrecked in the last book it's hard to believe that Read will succeed in spinning another yarn equally as twisted and knotted, but she does.
Now living in New York City, Madeline connects with a distant cousin from the Ludlam branch of her storied, Yankee family tree. The cousin, Cate, is restoring an ancestral Ludlam family cemetery out in Queens. Madeline volunteers to assist with this project. This is unfortunate because it is in the wild, tangled jungle of overgrown underbrush that Madeline stumbles upon the skeleton of a small boy while clearing away the overgrown weeds with a machete.
In the months that follow Madeline bonds with the homicide detective assigned to the case and with Cate as the case prepares to go to trial. When Madeline's hit by a car outside the cemetery where the skeleton was found, it's unclear whether she was the specific target or the victim of a random incident. The homicide detective digs into the case and shares the details of the boy's tragic and brief life. It's revealed he was a victim of horrendous, physical abuse, the third generation marked by violet tragedy in a family too familiar with domestic violence.
This book was hard to put down and a page turner. Madeline is a sharp as ever. Meanwhile, the minor subplot of the mental deterioration of a boarding school friend feels slightly superfluous and pointless. It's also slightly disappointing that while Madeline is a wonderful three dimensional character, the same cannot be said about her husband, a character who has played minor roles to varying degrees over these three books and is arguably the most important person in Madeline's life. Frequently the author relegates him to a life off screen (so to speak) by sending him on business trips or away to work.
I highly recommend you check out this book the next time you visit the library.
--Reviewed by Ms. Angie