St. Martin's, Dec 2008, $24.95
Providence Chronicle reporter Hallie Ahern surfs the chat rooms when she comes across a teaser video clip of two teenage girls sexually posing. Excited by the prospects of a story though she is concerned and disgusted by what she saw, Hallie persuades her editors at the newspaper to support an exposé story on the social chat rooms, “Online Dangers: Your teenager is prey”.
As Hallie begins to investigate finding high school age girls who explain the chat rooms and the web-camcorders, one of her contacts suddenly dies. Her boyfriend Rhode Island Assistant Attorney General Matt Cavanaugh demands she ends her inquiry as that interferes with the official one and her newspaper bosses abruptly tell her to cease. Refusing to do so as she feels some guilt over the girl’s death and knows first hand one moves on if they lose a newspaper job due to your convictions (see A CONFIDENTIAL SOURCE), Allie continues her inqury though it may cost her job, boyfriend and life not in that order.
This terrific Rhode Island journalistic investigation (see YESTERDAY'S FATAL) is a superb cautionary tale; although the warning has been sounded many times, it never hurts to hear it again as Jan Brogan counsels parents about predators on the net inside a strong tale. The story line is fast-paced but driven by the courageous Hallie who rejects the notion of quitting even as she is the recipient of incredible pressure to do so. Instead she turns the novel into a strong whodunit that hooks readers from the moment she receives the TEASER.