Swerve by Vicki Petterson
This is an intense thriller with a strong and compelling female lead. Physician’s assistant Kristine Rush is driving through the Mojave Desert with her fiance, Daniel, a talented surgeon. They stop for a quick bathroom break when Kristine is assaulted, later coming to consciousness to find Daniel missing and herself wrapped up in a psycho’s sick game. I’ve read at least one or two of these types of books where bad people kidnap the protagonist’s loved one and they have to play a “game” to save their loved one (and in fact, I’ve reviewed one right here https://petalfrog.wordpress.com/2012/02/08/review-7-man-of-wax-by-robert-swartwood/) but I do feel this is the first one where the protagonist is female. Kristine is a great lead character… she has a sordid past that she overcame to become successful in her career and an excellent and devoted mother. Details of her (truly twisted) past are interwoven throughout the present day as Kristine fights to stay sane while she saves Daniel.
This was a rapidly paced and energetic book but is certainly not for the faint of heart. The “games” that the Player requires Kristine to engage in are sadistic, masochistic, and disturbing. There were times where I found myself cringing and if the book was in lesser hands I probably would have quit; however, I believed firmly that Kristine would survive the whole thing (rooting for your protagonist is always a good thing!) so I felt compelled to keep reading even as I had to mentally avert my eyes at times. I guessed several main plot points early on but didn’t mind because it made for great reveals and suspense about how the heck Kristine will get through her ordeal. Overall, I thought this was a great suspense novel and I would happily read more from this author.
I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.