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Book Review of Complicit by Amy Rivers


Amy Rivers, author of the literary thriller, Complicit, holds degrees in political science and psychology, and has extensive experience with the topic of this true-to-life contemporary fiction. Protagonist, Kate Medina, is introduced through a brief glimpse of her traumatic teen years. She and her friend, Roman, had discovered the murdered remains of a fellow high school friend. She then abruptly left town to attend college with no intention of returning.

Kate’s story quickly jumps to her return to her hometown, Alamogordo, New Mexico, twenty years later after the death of her mother. A trained forensic psychologist, Kate has reluctantly moved back to care for her invalid father while taking on the position of high school counselor. Her role leads to her involvement in the trauma of a girl found beaten, raped, and dead. When another student, Mandy, is reported missing, Kate is in conflict.

Before leaving town to attend college, Kate had a deep relationship with her best friend, Roman.  She had abandoned her boyfriend in an effort to escape the confines of the small town. Now in her new life thrown back into her hometown, she must confront her feelings towards him as well as her compulsion to help Mandy, a surly depressed student. 


When another girl is reported missing hints of local conspiracies and deep community secrets begin to surface no matter how deeply they had been hidden. The plot becomes a thriller as Kate’s life is threatened. When Kate’s estranged younger sister returns for a brief visit to their ailing father, her own dramatic hidden past complicates the plot as does Franks deteriorating health. 

Kate is in denial of a romantic relationship with Roman.  However, their cooperative involvement in solving what appears to be a local sex trafficking organization turns an abandoned friendship into something deeper.

The reader is led into the persuasive personalities and lives of the characters, the drama of dysfunctional families, and the secret lives of community leaders. The reader will be forced to recognize and analyze similar situations in his own town.

The author has written a compelling, and captivating, timely thriller. Has she fictionalized a real situation in Alamogordo and other similar towns or used her expertise to tell a moral story?  The contemporary world of sexual assault and trafficking is hideously denied and covered up. Young girls who have suffered betrayal and physical and emotional abuse deserve to have their stories told to enlighten and protect others. Watch for other novels in Rivers’ “Legacy of Silence Series.” 


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