Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Face at the Window-Sarah Graves

A Face at the Window
Sarah Graves
Bantam, Jan 2009, $22.00
ISBN: 9780553806793

Jacobia "Jake" Tiptree, who resides in Eastport, Maine, feels very uneasy after her father was decades on the run as a fugitive. Her father was exonerated from killing his wife because a bomber made a deathbed confession stating he was there and Jake’s father did not kill his wife. The only other adult in the house at the time of the murder was Ozzie Campbell, who loved Jake’s late mom. Jake was three years old when the tragedy destroyed her home; a trauma that she witnessed and remembers in great detail though she never saw the killer’s face. The horrific events haunt her decades later as she can still vividly see what happened.

After Jake give her witness impact statement to the ADA that should close the case, he forwards it to Campbell’s defense lawyer. Right after that Campbell vanishes and Jake fears he is coming to get her. Jake is extra concerned because she is watching her best friend’s toddler Lee while the woman and her husband are in Europe. Her paranoia is warranted when apparently Campbell has two thugs working for him snatch Lee and her teenage babysitter, Helen. He calls Jake telling her to meet him if she wants the kid back alive. While Campbell and Jake play cat and mouse, Helen tries to escape and get help..

Even though a recurring part of the series, the household tips seem a bit out of place in this gritty thriller filled with evil villains who have no qualms about killing an innocent young child and two courageous heroines trying to save the toddlers life and that of their own. From the onset Jake feels someone stalking her, watching her, and waiting to attack. She cannot get the authorities to understand Campbell is coming for her although she no idea why; no one believes her until three females including her are in jeopardy. Sarah Graves’ latest thriller is much darker than usual but even more exhilarating as Campbell’s obsessed purpose becomes clear to the reader while Jake’s sense of hopelessness of saving the teen and the tot grows with each step she takes.

Harriet Klausner