Lizzie Kitsakis is working late in her office one night, at the prestigious New York law firm Young & Crane. It’s not the job she pictured for herself, she was perfectly content working as an underpaid federal prosecutor, but her husband’s alcoholism has forced her hand into taking this better paying, yet less rewarding job handling white-collar cases. She’s about to head home when she receives a collect call from Rikers Island. On the line is Zach Grayson, an old friend from college, now millionaire, who has been charged with the assault of a police officer. Lizzie reluctantly agrees to meet with Zach; when she arrives at Rikers she finds out that this case is much more serious than he let on. Zach has also been accused of murdering his young wife, Amanda. He hasn’t been formally charged yet, but the police are building their case against him and he begs Lizzie to represent him as his defense attorney. But why her? They haven’t talked since law school. Last she heard, he was a successful tech entrepreneur and his career was on the rise, clearly he was doing well. Of all the attorneys he had at his disposal, why contact her?
After seeking guidance from her supervising partner, Lizzie decides to take on Zach’s case. As she investigates, she uncovers more about this seemingly perfect couple and their life in Park Slope: a blackmail and phishing scandal at the children’s private school, the foundation Amanda was running in conjunction with Zach’s tech company being the target of fraud, a Key Party with the neighborhood parents that took place shortly before the murder. What else was happening here, and what secrets were these families hiding to protect their idyllic lives? Lizzie realizes she has taken on much more than she thought and questions the insidious undercurrent of Zach’s initial phone call.
McCreight could have easily fallen into cliché plotlines and tropes frequently used in these types of domestic thrillers. Instead, she weaves a story between flashbacks, present-day, and grand jury testimony transcript surrounding the murder. The twist ending is satisfying, one that I didn’t see coming and actually worked with, not against, the plot.