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Unaware that she wouldn’t be returning home the same way or the same day, Lisa Rinaldi, a pre-teen girl, is riding her bike to a country store in the Adirondacks. Two hundred miles to the west, a parolee botches an abduction of a woman, and decides to drive east to “get out of Dodge”. All Lisa’s mom knows,when she goes to look for her daughter, is the sudden, gut-wrenching horror that tears into her when she finds her daughter’s bike dumped in the edge of the woods.
A breathless, panicked 911 call sets off a massive police effort that yields few clues and continues through the night. The suspense is shattered when the pre-dawn reveals the girl twenty miles from where the bike had been found. One look at Lisa’s eyes is enough to know that she has endured terrible abuse, but she can tell them nothing, due to traumatic amnesia. The police shift their focus to what happened to her, where did it happen, and who did these things.
Assistant DA Peter Drake, who has been closely following the investigation, works to support his law enforcement comrades to slowly unravel mystery after mystery, as they support young Lisa who is trying to answer her own questions. A slight break in her memory’s fog gives the cops the lead they need to zero in on a suspect. The revelation also gives Lisa hope that she might retrieve enough of her memory and, somehow, take back some of her childhood.
But how does Peter Drake prosecute and prove that their target kidnapped, assaulted, raped, and attempted to murder this little girl, with no victim identification, no confession, no DNA, and no fingerprints?
“Rage in the Woods” is a work of fiction grounded in the experiences of the author, a long-time prosecutor, and is in the tradition of Patricia Cornwell, Tess Gerritsen, and Linda Fairstein.