From Publishers Weekly
A creepy stalker story becomes a shrewd whodunit as Saul's latest tracks a move from tranquil suburbia to the big city. After a job promotion, the Marshall family prepares to move from Long Island to Manhattan, unaware that a menace edges ever closer to kidnapping their teenage daughter, Lindsay. Eerie first-person chapters from the stalker's close-call perspective effectively counterpoint parents Kara and Steve Marshall's stressful relocation hurdles, as intuitive Kara begins sensing the imminence of the threat, but meets with resistance from harried family members. After the anonymous menace snatches Lindsay, Saul broadens the scope to encompass four likely male suspects, including a pair of real estate agents (one dour and one impossibly chipper). Steve Marshall conveniently dies in a car accident; police sergeant Andrew Grant is cautious and unconvinced of foul play. Lindsay's attempts to escape and the criminal's master plan keep the tension high and the plot accelerating, making this solid suspense from the veteran author of Suffer the Children
and the Blackstone Chronicles series.
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Saul's take on the sexual-psychopath thriller, whose grand master is surely Thomas Harris in Red Dragon
(1981) and The Silence of the Lambs
(1988), and whose unacknowledged master is Whitley Strieber in Billy
(1990), is a more disquieting book than Saul may have intended. As a literary performance, it doesn't give Harris and Strieber much competition, for its Long Island setting and relentlessly middle-class characters lead Saul into bland prose and shallow psychology. And the mainspring of its plot--who has snatched two pretty teen girls and a twentysomething young mother?--is unexceptional and generically shopworn. Fortunately, by interspersing the thoughts of the perverted perp throughout a third-person text otherwise following either the mother of the second girl kidnapped or the girl herself, Saul adds considerable nasty fascination, though that fascination affords the kind of pleasure that many may think they damn well ought to feel guilty about. What is genuinely upsetting about the book is its depressing implication that hands held out in loving compassion are precisely what shouldn't be trusted. That rather flies in the face of the mother's love that drives the main character (who is eminently trustworthy), and it makes for a brackish, disturbing ending. Ray OlsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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