NYPD detective Ellie Hatcher and her partner, J.J. Rogan are called to the scene of an apparent suicide. The victim is age sixteen and from a wealthy and influential family.
Alafair Burke uses her knowledge of the streets of New York to create action that rolls off the pages as if the reader was a pedestrian in the street or in Washington Square Park, listening to the laughter and watching the eccentricities of the characters.
Ellie not only investigates the murder but has flashbacks to her own policeman father and his death by apparent self inflicted gunshot. In thinking of this suicide she wonders if she "...should set aside her own past like a discarded shopping bag."
The teenage children and their relationships to their parents are the heart of the story. Many of these teenagers are living on the streets and have been cast aside by their parents. We also have a lesson on the abuse of pharmaceutical drugs and antidepressants.
There is rich character development as the author deals with the teenagers and we learn their histories and the background of some of the parents who seemed so perfectly situated in their world.
The author keeps the reading guessing through the intricacies of the story and the reader will clap their hands in appreciation of the author's writing skill and we read the concluding chapters of this story.