Elaine Marie Alphin
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"An engrossing, suspenseful novel that is sure to keep the reader glued to the page." (Kirkus Reviews)
Cameron Miller is the son of a murderer. All he has ever known is the stench of the locked cellar, where he can hear the blows and cries and his father's torrent of terror and abuse. Then a miracle happens: his father is killed in a police shootout. In the aftermath, Cameron grabs his one chance for a normal life: he takes on the identity of Neil Lacey, a boy who Mr. Miller had abducted six years ago. As Neil, he has a life with loving parents, a brother and sister, and the comforts only money can buy. But someone knows what Cameron's doing—someone with the power to turn his life back into a nightmare.
tears that night and wondering if Cougar had killed him. Neither of the cops had seen past his blank stare and tried to help him. Finally he'd shaken his head and said he didn't think so, and asked softly if it was someone he was supposed to know from school. The cops had gone away a little later, and Pop had slapped him on his sore back and grinned at him, telling him he'd been good for once. Cameron blinked his eyes, trying to focus on the present instead of the past. Reading the newspaper
effort of questioning every action, every moment, always asking, Would Neil do that? Being part of a real family, belonging somewhere at last—that would be worth it. Pop certainly wasn't like the families he'd read about in books and imagined. The Laceys weren't, either, with prickly Diana and sulky Stevie, but he'd liked sitting there at the supper table, surrounded by their voices and laughter. He'd liked cooking out with them Saturday, using an air gun to blow on the coals to keep the fire
sorry." Stevie sighed. "You say that a lot now. You never used to." "I've changed. Look, Stevie, I need to talk to you." The suspicious look was back in Stevie's eyes. "About what?" "I know you told me that you know not to go off with a strange man," Cameron began, feeling his way just like he'd ease the Sunfish into the wind. "But what about if somebody grabbed you?" "What do you mean?" "Suppose you were just walking along, say, and a car pulled up beside you and somebody opened the door
clouds beneath him. And he thought he would feel safe—no people around, just him and the boat and the open water. He knew about the sailboats because he'd seen them in the newspaper photographs. He had read everything about the boys, all the clipped articles on yellowing newsprint, all the magazine features on slick paper so limp it had lost its gloss. Reading about someone else's life was almost as good as dreaming about sailing. He couldn't remember exactly when he had discovered the file
Detective Simmons's accusations, and felt bitterly like Goldilocks, the interloper. 4. Tears His mother stayed with him Saturday night, although he slept through most of it. Cameron woke in the night and saw her in the light from the hospital corridor. She sat propped awkwardly in an uncomfortable-looking hard chair, her head leaning back, her eyes closed. In her sleep she was still smiling. Both she and the man were beside him all day Sunday, through more testsandpokingandprodding.