A rookie policewoman, who had been molested as a young girl, pursues a serial child molester–and struggles to control the anger his misdeeds awake in her.
Valerie Dawes carries a serious emotional scar from being molested in her youth by a family “friend,” a tragedy referred to by family members only as “The Incident.” Her namesake uncle, a well-known Clayton, CT police detective, helped her through “The Incident” before being gunned down in the line of duty. Resolving to continue in his footsteps, she becomes a Clayton policewoman at the age of 22.
Val’s trusted senior partner and mentor, Gil, shows her the ropes and helps her survive the nastiness they encounter on the streets–and in the chauvinistic office politics at the precinct. Val shows promise as a talented, thoughtful, and quick-thinking street cop, earning praise from her superiors–and continued resistance from old-school line cops, jealous of her quick rise. A blogger, Paul Peterson, somehow gains inside knowledge about her and is quick to sensationalize her mistakes on his trashy “police-accountability” website.
One of those mistakes involves getting overpowered in a domestic abuse encounter with a serial child abuser, Richard Harkins, who proves to be both elusive and cruel. His escape haunts her and she spends an increasing amount of her time and energy trying to track him down before he strikes again and subjects any more young girls to the fate Val encountered in her own youth.
But her unresolved anger over The Incident boils over in confrontational situations with suspects, causing her to pull the trigger a little too quickly. When she loses her trusted mentor and senior partner Gil in a tragic gunfire exchange, she finds herself caught in a callous pattern of taking retribution for her childhood trauma against the violent men on the street – and an increasing recklessness that puts her life, and everything she stands for, at serious risk.