Six years ago, Nick Raine broke away from his mentor/boss Rennie Spier, a ruthless arms dealer known as the "Merchant of Death." Now Nick is a handyman in a school for wounded and troubled kids.

After witnessing her mother's murder as a child, Rachel Goodman has made a career of helping other children deal with violence and trauma. Nick keeps his distance from everyone at the school, but when the police come to question him about the death of a woman named Shelly Spier, Rachel doesn't hesitate to vouch for him.

Suddenly Rachel is involved in a deadly game of cross and double cross. Shelly was Rennie's wife, but years ago Nick had a brief affair with her. At that time, Shelly ran away to secretly give birth to a baby boy. Is young Isaac Nick's son? If so, is there any way to protect him from Rennie's clutches? To save both Isaac and Rachel, Nick may have to return to the depths of evil.

Dark, riveting and emotionally dense, this is one powerful read. Annie Solomon does an excellent job delivering characters whose motives and actions come in various shades of gray. (Mar., 384 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith