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On a searing August day, Melisandre Harris Dawes left her two-month-old daughter locked in a car while she sat nearby. Found not guilty by reason of criminal insanity, Melisandre left the country, her husband and her two surviving children, determined to start over. But now Melisandre has returned to Baltimore to meet with her estranged teenage daughters and wants to film the reunion for a documentary. The problem is, she relinquished custody and her ex isn't sure he approves.
Now that she's a mother herself, Tess Monaghan wants nothing to do with a woman crazy enough to have killed her own child. But her mentor Tyner Gray, Melisandre's lawyer, has asked Tess to assess Melisandre's security needs. Tess has always felt that her curiosity about others is her greatest strength. Yet the imperious Melisandre is someone she cannot begin to understand, much less empathize with. A decade ago, a judge ruled that Melisandre was beyond rational thought. But was she? Tess tries to keep her distance from her mercurial yet confident client. This strategy gets tricky after Melisandre becomes a prime suspect in a murder. And as her doubts about Melisandre grow, Tess realizes that she's under scrutiny as well, followed by a judgmental stalker with an ax to grind. . .