Ten years ago in California, Daniel Pell, a self-styled Charles Manson, was sentenced to life in prison for murdering an entire family: husband, wife, and two children, plus one of his young male followers. He is brought to Salinas, California, to interview with Kathryn Dance after he is implicated in yet another killing. Things go terribly wrong during an interview break, and Pell, after badly injuring Dance's fellow California Bureau of Investigation agent and murdering several bystanders, escapes. The murder was just one of his many schemes to allow him to travel outside of his high-security prison - and to continue to kill on the outside.
It's up to Dance, aided by her CBI partners, a Monterey County detective, and a brilliant FBI agent specializing in cult mentality, to stop him before he kills again. Hungry on his trail, Dance enlists three of Pell's former female followers, now raising families and leading normal lives, as well as the one surviving family member from the initial killing. Only eight years old at the time, she was asleep in her bed and obscured by her toys and stuffed animals, prompting the press to call her "The Sleeping Doll". Now 18, this girl may have essential clues about Pell.
"Deaver digs into his bottomless bag of unexpected twists and turns, keeping readers wide-eyed with surprise, and leaving them looking forward to more of the perspicacious Dance." (Publishers Weekly)
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abridged always misses something