Sophie Hannah’s newest stand-alone shows readers why she’s the author Agatha Christie’s estate chose to write two new Hercule Poirot mysteries. Keep Her Safe brings readers to a stateside setting when Brit Cara Burrows escapes her family to spend time alone in a world-class resort in Arizona. She’s immediately acutely aware that she’s an Englishwoman in an American country, for many reasons.

Cara needs time to just think about a surprise and very unplanned pregnancy, but she hardly gets there before she’s thrust into a nightmare. Exhausted from her long flight, already questioning her desperate need to flee her family, she enters what should be her welcome hotel room, only to find it already occupied by a man and teen girl.

It’s a simple front desk mistake and Cara is immediately upgraded to a lovely casita, but the resort comes with too many options to choose from–which pool, massage, therapy, class should she take? And it seems filled with eccentric characters. Cara soon comes across a hint of menace directed toward herself. Events spiral and she finds herself convinced that the teen she saw is a young murder victim whose body was never found.

The missing girl, Melody Chapa, has been gone from age 7, would be 14 now, and fits the description Cara finds online of the teen she came across on her first night, right down to the stuffed animal buddy the girl carries. At the moment, Melody’s parents languish in prison, serving sentences for her murder. But if Melody is alive and well, they should be freed and an awful miscarriage of justice has occurred. Or has it?

Cara will meet a mother/daughter duo vacationing who at first seem unlikely friends and an elder woman who swears on each visit she’s seen Melody and agrees with Cara that Melody is at the resort.

When Cara disappears along with a resort employee, it will be up to two seemingly disinvolved detectives to investigate her disappearance, along with the arrival of a former prosecutor-turned-TV host whose specialty is people unjustly convicted of crimes.

Cara will meet the man who she must outwit to bargain for her life and that of her child. The unlikely center of the storm, Meloday Chapa, has her story told through a book writtten about her life at home with her parents which is excerpted as the chapters unfold.

Hannah examines both our justice system, especially in our media-driven culture where many defendants are convicted in the press before any trial occurs, and America’s obsessional interest in true crime stories. The question that’s raised is: Is there any such thing as a personal responsibility to protect a victim? And what lengths would be reasonable to accomplish this?

An ending twist that’s pure Hannah will leave heads spinning in this complex book, the germ of its plot planted on a book tour visit by Hannah to the US during the Casey/Caylee Anthony case.

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