I was fortunate to receive this novel from Netgalley.com as an Advance Reader Copy, in exchange for an objective review.
Belfa “Bell” Elkins is a former prosecutor who has just been released from prison after a three-year incarceration for the murder of her abusive father. Now as she completes the conditions of her release, she struggles with her role in the community – a community that struggles mightily with drug addiction. Bell finds herself researching the opioid problem and identifies pharmaceutical companies as a large part of the problem and feels that these corporations should answer to the part they play in the opioid epidemic.
The Toppings family also play a central role in this novel. An upper middle-class family, Brett is a banker. He and his wife Ellie have a son, Tyler, who has struggled mightily with addiction. Just released from rehab, he moves back home with his family, and almost immediately falls prey to the availability of drugs in his community. Through the painful challenges the Toppings family faces, we learn the effects of drug abuse on families, individuals, and indeed, whole communities.
Former Deputy Jake Owens was left paraplegic three years ago after being shot on the job. Now unable to use his legs, he searches for his role, if any, in law enforcement. Sheriff Harrison needs a telecommunicator, and Jake agrees to fill in part time. He is working the night that the cry for help comes in…
This story is told through varied points of view and gives the reader a hard look into the desperation, despair and the intricacies of a family caught up in the opioid epidemic. As Bell and eventually Jake take on ‘big pharma’, this novel twists and turns rapidly, and ultimately surges to a stunning, unexpected conclusion… I can’t WAIT for the next installment of Bell’s story!! My first read by Julia Keller, but certainly not my last!!