When Melody Grace McCartney was six years old, she and her parents witnessed an act of violence so brutal that it changed their lives forever. The federal government lured them into the Witness Protection Program with the promise of safety, but the program took Melody’s name, her home, her family, and ultimately her innocence. Now, twenty years later and still on the run, she’s been May Adams, Karen Smith, Anne Johnson, and countless others. But the one person she longs to be is Melody Grace McCartney. So when the feds spirit her off to begin yet another new life in yet another new town, she’s stunned by a man who accosts her and calls her by her real name. Jonathan Bovaro, the mafioso sent to find her, knows her, the real her, and it’s a thrill Melody can’t resist. Defying the feds, she goes willingly with him. To the Justice Department, she’s nothing more than a pawn in the government’s war against the Bovaro family. But, as dangerous as Jonathan is, he presents her with the chance of a lifetime — the chance to embrace her past and present, and choose a future all her own.
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"The Girl She Used To Be (Grand Central 2009) is the story of Melody Grace McCartney, a witness with her parents to a mob hit by Tony Bovaro when she was six years old. After 20 years in the Federal Witness Protection Program, living under eight different aliases, Melody no longer knows who she really is. Alone since her parents were killed 12 years earlier, Melody craves connection and stability, but knows she is doomed to living under a series of forgettable aliases in unmemorable small towns across the country. The only comfort Melody has is her love for the certainty of mathematics, and her powerful baby monitor receiver that picks up the sound of a family she will never have. Bored with her current persona, Melody pretends to get a threatening phone call in order to connect with her caseworker, her only constant in the last 20 years. But retirement has given her a new bodyguard, US Deputy Marshall Sean Douglas. During their journey from Maryland to Wisconsin, Melody, now renamed Melissa, shares her life story with Sean, revealing the girl she used to be and never can be again. Then Tony Bovaroâ€™s son Jonathan tracks her down and offers a future she never imagined. This compulsively readable debut novel was a finalist for the 2010 Edgar Award for Best First Novel.
David Cristofano page at SYKM"
Lucinda (4 out of 5 stars)