Changed my mind on this one and moved it into the 5 star category the more that I thought about it as I wrote this review.
This is not a comfortable or easy book to read. It highlights the opiod crisis and addiction of all forms. It talks about babies born to addicts and the withdrawal that they go through. It takes place in a neighborhood in Philadelphia, Kensington, which was once a neighborhood of working class families. As the jobs dried up, people chose or were forced to move and there are many abandoned buildings which become homes for those shooting up heroin or dealing and using other drugs. I will post a link at the end of my review from an article just released today about the rise of methamphetamine.
Back to the story. At the heart of the story there are two sisters, Mickey and Kacey orphaned when they were young, losing their mother to an overdose death. Their father has not been present in their lives. They have been raised by their grandmother, Gee, who barely was able to provide for their needs, shelter and food, while working several jobs. There wasn't much love or personal attention shown to the girls and therefore they were extremely close while growing up.
Things changed dramatically in high school as Kacey started using drugs. The sisters grew apart, Mickey choosing a career as a policewoman and Kacey working temporary jobs to fund her drug habit. Mickey has tried to keep an eye on her sister as she was usually in the area that she was patrolling in Kensington.
There is a serial killer targeting young women. Mickey becomes desperate to find her sister, fearing that she will be the next target. She has vanished and no one seems to know where she is. She becomes desperate and risks the loss of her job and more as she digs deeper into Kacey's life in the last few months and trying to find the killer.
Mickey is an extremely interesting and complicated woman. She is raising a young son on her own. She joined the police force because she wanted to help change her neighborhood and make a difference in people's lives. The department doesn't always agree with Mickey's methods and she is not sure who she can trust. She has complicated feelings about her grandmother and extended family.
This is a multi-layered story, extremely well written, fast paced, heartbreaking and yet in the end hopeful. The characters are unique, well described and believable. I felt my heart breaking at times for people who live on the streets, tortured and controlled by their addictions.
I won't give any more of the plot away but I do recommend looking at this link from The Philadelphia Inquirer just posted online today. The numbers are staggering and will, no doubt, shock many readers as they did me.
Here's the link: https://www.inquirer.com/health/opioi...
I highly recommend this book as it is extremely explanatory and pertinent to our times when the crisis of addiction is all around us. I wouldn't call this a police procedural because it is much more than that. It is a story about humanity, families, sisters, people and cities in crisis, love, forgiveness and hope.
This book is set to publish in January 2020.
I received an ARC of this novel from publisher through Edelweiss.