Kate Parker has lived the last five years in fear, not of something specific but of harm to herself or her son Jack. She believes she is cursed. First, her parents were killed in a freak accident on the night of her wedding, and then a few years later her beloved husband Hugo was viciously murdered by a gang of men who were trying to steal his car.
Since then, Kate has been obsessed with numbers, the odds of this or that happening that could hurt her or her son. She has gotten so fearful that her in-laws are threatening to sue for custody of her son, claiming she is harming his mental well-being.
Kate is not just being paranoid, though. Fairly early on, we learn that someone is regularly breaking into her house from the student rooming house that shares a wall.
Kate meets Jago Martin, a professor at Edinburg University who is visiting at Oxford. He has written a book that fascinates her on the statistics of events. Once he finds out her problem, he begins a series of unorthodox experiments with her to try to draw her out of her fears. Soon, she seems to be improving, and she is becoming attracted to Jago.
This novel does a fairly good job of building suspense. However, I feel the whole “treatment” idea to be unlikely, first that Kate would agree to do some of the experiments–actually any of them given how she was behaving before–and second that they would help her improve so quickly. There are other plot points I find unlikely, but I can’t discuss them without giving too much away. Let me just say that although the motivation for some actions may not be completely absurd, the chosen target makes no sense at all. Finally, after a villain comes into the open, given the time and effort expended on the tortuous plot, the manner of resolution seems too easy. With these mysterious comments, I will leave you to decide for yourself whether to read the book!