One chilly morning a man throws himself off a Great Lakes ferry. An apparent suicide, the body is never found.
Five years later, we learn that the man had faked his own death. An accountant who had become unwittingly mixed up in a criminal conspiracy, he was being threatened by a ruthless mobster: tell us where the money is or we'll kill your wife and eight-year-old daughter.
If he'd been able to hand over the money, he would have done it in a heartbeat. But he couldn't, and so the only way to put his family beyond reach of harm seemed to be to make himself dead.
He has a different life now, and a different identity, and he never allows himself to think about his family. The fact that they are safe is all that matters.
Until one day he sees an article in USA Today about a 13-year-old girl who's won a national spelling bee. There's a picture. It's his daughter. And in the background there's his wife, holding hands with a man. Of course, he should have expected it.
What he didn't expect was that he recognized the man, and the last time he spoke to him he was threatening to kill his wife and daughter. He puts the paper down, and knows this changes everything. Now he's going to have to go back, and save his family one more time.
©2010 Linwood Barclay (P)2010 Orion Publishing Group Limited