DEATH by alligator is rare in Florida – so rare that when a college student’s mauled remains are discovered decomposing in a lake in the centre of Gainesville, the news creates a tidal wave of panic on the local university campus.
At first it is assumed to have been a case of misadventure: the result of stumbling drunkenly off the footpath into dangerous territory at the height of the reptiles’ breeding season.
When a second young man dies in similar circumstances, however, and then two more, it starts to look like more than simple bad luck. Is a pattern emerging and, if so, what is the link between the victims?
Flatmates Rebecca, Ellie, Delia, Hafsah, Susanna, Keiko and Luz share accommodation but are decidedly individual in character.
Conscientious Rebecca is a journalism major, intent on making a career for herself reporting on legal issues.
Ellie, on the other hand, seems to be far more focused on self-destruction. Under-age drinking and brawling in bars are her two priorities – that and kneeing her male counterparts in the groin. Ellie has zero tolerance for the type of brazen, boorish misbehaviour that has left dozens – perhaps hundreds – of girls in Gainesville emotionally and physically scarred by sexual assault. The more Ellie stands up for the sisterhood, the more worried her friends become that one day soon she will destroy not only someone else’s life but also her own.
Detective Patrick Corby – ‘Det Corby’ to the group – is an ever-present knight-in-shining-armour – or shining police department badge in this case: a trustworthy law enforcer whose steady presence and gentlemanly manners ensure they have a safe escort home at night and a level head to turn to for support and advice as the tally of attacks by both male students and alligators continues to build.