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by Douglas Corleone
Minotaur Books, August 2013
304 pages
ISBN: 1250017203

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Simon Fisk is a former U.S. marshal who now hunts down noncustodial parents who have abducted their children and fled overseas. Pressured by the French National Police, he's asked to handle the kidnapping of Lindsay Sorkin, an American six-year-old girl taken from a Paris hotel room while her parents slept nearby. There's been no ransom note, no demand. Can the kidnapping be related to the father's job as a designer of weapons technology?

With little to go on, Fisk finds a partial Ecstasy tab with a design on it in a hotel closet. That one small clue sends him careening around Eastern Europe: Germany, Poland, Ukraine and Belarus. In Poland, he meets a beautiful lawyer, Anastazja Staszak, who joins him on his hunt. But the kidnappers always seem one step ahead of them and their quest becomes even more dangerous as they get closer to the truth.

There's also a reason why Fisk has avoided kidnappings by strangers up to now. The case brings up painful memories for Fisk, who began this line of private work after his own daughter, also six years old, was kidnapped by a stranger, never to be seen again. As he searches for Lindsay, Simon begins to wonder if the same people could have kidnapped his Hailey, and he begins to see her in the faces of teenaged prostitutes in Eastern Europe.

The novel, while a fast-paced thriller, is also an eye-opening look at what often happens to children, from child pornography rings to the fate handed to children who live near Chernobyl, many of them born with disabilities or diseases that spell certain death. It adds substance and gravity to this thinking man's thriller.

While his subject is serious, Corleone also writes with wit, providing laugh-out-loud scenes and several zingers. Corleone, who previously wrote a legal thriller series set in Hawaii, has switched gears with this book. Hopefully, we'll see more of Fisk—and Corleone—in the fast lane.

§ Lourdes Venard is a newspaper editor in Long Island, N.Y.

Reviewed by Lourdes Venard, August 2013

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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