Touchstone Books, Feb 2009, $24.99
Although Key West was not considered in a direct path of tropical storm Angelina, the island takes a nasty hit. A resident all her life, Madeleine Frank can never look at the place the same way since her spouse Forrest died in the storm. Needing to escape her loss, Madeleine flees Florida for Bath, England, where she opens up a psychotherapy practice.
Her latest patient Rachel Locklear seems at first like a classic domestic violence victim as her former lover and father of her child has pimped her and wants both back under his brutal thumb. However, as the sessions continue, Madeleine is stunned to find Rachel’s past somewhat mirrors her own dark childhood growing up in a household where her Cuban mother was a powerful Santera priestess; her mom currently lives in a nearby mental institution as she suffers from acute paranoid schizophrenia. Soon the pasts of both women will collide with their present leaving each with no hope for the future.
Although there are some subplots especially the ants that feel pointless as they fail to enhance the psychological suspense or insight into the beleaguered heroine, BLOODPRINT is an engaging thriller. Madeleine is an interesting character as Key West can no longer be home for her and Bath is becoming questionable. Rachel purposely is a bit underdeveloped as the woman in trouble so that the audience will wonder whether she is manipulating her therapist; her actions and Madeleine’s reactions lead to the heroine’s peril just like her demented mom warned her. Even though this story is not on the level of ICE TRAP, Kitty Sewell provides a fine contemporary thriller that combines a violent significant other with Santera beliefs converging on two frightened but brave women.