Goodreads ~ Disaster, Melanie Barrick was once told, is always closer than you know.
It was a lesson she learned the hard way growing up in the constant upheaval of foster care. But now that she's survived into adulthood - with a loving husband, a steady job and a beautiful baby boy named Alex - she thought that turmoil was behind her.
Until one Monday evening when she goes to pick up Alex from childcare only to discover he's been removed by Social Services. And no one will say why. It's a terrifying scenario for any parent but doubly so for Melanie, who knows the unintended horrors of what everyone coldly calls "the system."
Her nightmare mushrooms when she arrives home to learn her house has been raided by sheriff's deputies, who have found enough cocaine to send Melanie to prison for years. The evidence against her is overwhelming and if Melanie can't prove her innocence, she'll lose Alex forever.
Meanwhile, assistant commonwealth's attorney Amy Kaye - who has been assigned Melanie's case - has her own troubles. She's been dogged by a cold case no one wants her to pursue: a serial rapist who has avoided detection by wearing a mask and whispering his commands. Over the years, he has victimized dozens of women.
Including Melanie. Yet now her attacker might be the key to her salvation ... or her undoing.
Melanie grew up in foster care after her parents lost their parental rights when she was a child. She's done the best she can and, now an adult, is married to Ben (a PhD student), educated though not working to her potential and has a baby named Alex. When she goes to pick up Alex at daycare one day, she discovers he has been removed by Social Services but has no idea why. She heads home to discover the police have searched her house and have apparently found cocaine. She initially thinks it belongs to her younger brother but it turns out it doesn't. In and out of jail, she is assigned a rumpled inept lawyer who she doesn't have a lot of confidence in.
Amy is the assistant commonwealth's attorney and has been working on a cold case of a rapist in the country. She is assigned Melanie's case, who had coincidentally also been a victim of the rapist last year. But Amy must put aside her sympathy for Melanie in that case as she tries the drug possession case.
The storyline was interesting. As hard as Melanie tried, she had a hard time getting and keeping ahead. There were lots of possible "whodunnits" who could have set her up and we don't find out who is behind it all until the end ... and I bought it. I liked the writing style. It is written in first person perspective in Melanie's voice but also in third person perspective from Amy and other's points of view. I found at times, though, there were too many police officers involved in this case that I started losing track of who they were.
I've read all of Brad Parks' books including the Carter Ross series and liked them. This was a stand alone book.