Ellie is a veteran of the Iraq war, suffering from PTSD and a leg injury sustained during her tour of duty. She's living in China after her husband, whom she met while in Iraq, dumped her for another woman. She is living day by day, doing what she can to survive, making new friends, and trying to sort out the mess her life has become. She becomes close to a Chinese artist, Lao Zhang, and though their relationship isn't well defined, she considers him her closet friend. One night, feeling lonely and bored she calls Lao to see if she can come visit. He reluctantly agrees but when Ellie arrives, Lao isn't there. A stranger is asleep in one of the rooms and upon hearing Ellie, he wakes and come out to speak to her. And thus begins a convoluted and complicated story of international intrigue, double-crosses, and the terrifying world of politics and the treatment of political prisoners.
I don't quite understand what happened or why but the story kept me turning pages past my bedtime. I didn't know who was good, who was bad, and who could be trusted. I suppose that's the way Ellie felt, too. A few times I was really wondering why she made the choices she did and I had to just go with it to see how things resolved. Some of the relationships didn't make sense to me but as I said, I'm STILL not sure I really understood what happened.
All in all, a good thriller with enough action to keep you turning pages. I hope to read more from Ms. Brackman.