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by P. J. Parrish
Pinnacle, February 2005
383 pages
ISBN: 078601606X

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Sunday Jan 10, 1988: The book opens in the Florida Everglades. A man delivers a box of money to a boat ramp 42 miles east of Naples deep into Alligator Alley. He's supposed to pick up a package in return for the box. The package turns out to be three women. One runs and he kills her.

A couple of days later, Louis Kincaid, now a private investigator, has finally got the guts to ask Susan Outlaw, a public defender with an 11-year-old son Ben, out on a date. She misunderstood him, and is preparing dinner at home. While dinner is cooking, Austin Outlaw, Susan's ex-husband turns up, flashing $100 bills. Kincaid leaves.

That weekend, Outlaw takes Ben out for the afternoon but does not return. Susan is frantic. It turns out that Austin had tickets on Qantas for Australia . . . he had bought three, hoping that he and Susan would be reconciled, but he never used the tickets. Now both Austin and Ben are missing. She asks for Louis' help in finding her son.

Louis traces the movements of the man and boy, eventually discovering what happened. Louis, at 28, remembers growing up without a father (his mother was a black alcoholic prostitute and his father was white) and he feels strongly about Ben with whom he had started bonding during that aborted dinner party. A Miami detective, a friend of Mel Landeta, an ex-cop friend of Louis', joins the search. Kincaid has to make some tough decisions regarding his future at the end of this book.

Some reviews write themselves. Others are tougher. This is one of the tough ones. It's a psychological thriller as well as a mystery and it is difficult to tell too much of the plot without spoilers. It's a book you should try. Kincaid, raised by white foster parents in Michigan, is a strong principled young man trying to do his best. He's a real person.

Reviewed by Barbara Franchi, February 2005

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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