It's already been a long day when SWAT sniper Bobby Dodge is called to a domestic disturbance. He sees a man with a gun apparently threatening his wife and their son. When he believes the man is about to pull the trigger, Bobby takes his shot and kills Jimmy Gagnon.

The fallout starts almost immediately. Jimmy, it turns out, was the son of Judge James Gagnon, who files a criminal complaint against Bobby. The elder Gagnon maintains that his daughter- in-law, Catherine, not his son, was the dangerous parent.

Catherine's own childhood was horrific, and although Bobby senses that she is manipulating people and events, he feels the only way to clear his name is to listen to what she has to say. Then other individuals connected to this case are brutally murdered, and Bobby realizes he's running out of time.

Bestseller Gardner has crafted a gut-wrenching story of highly damaged individuals and the consequences of their actions. She impressively demonstrates that the effects of childhood trauma may not always be apparent, but the scars can run deep. (Jan., 346 pp., $24.00)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith