3 stars out of 5
This book would, I truly believe, make an excellent motion picture - one that would keep you on the edge of your seat the whole time. As a book? Sorry, but it just didn't do it for me.
It's not the plot, which is solid even though it's not terribly original. A child is kidnapped, his parents (one of whom has a deep dark secret) are distraught, police are not doing what parents think they should, parents set out on their own to find their child against all sensible advice and chaos ensues. Rather, my difficulties come from the writing; transition that is sadly lacking (or worse, nonexistent) and way too many unclear antecedents and misplaced modifiers. Consider, for instance, this gem:
"...woman chatting to a doctor in a pink smock."
Well, as it turns out, the doctor was a guy; so no, I rather think he wasn't the one wearing pink.
The story begins as Lana Cross thwarts the would-be kidnapper of her 4-year-old son Cooper. Before he gets away, the mystery man - dubbed "Mr. Whisper" - has the last word: "Tomorrow."
Scared out of their wits, Lana and her husband Todd pick up Cooper and leave the home they love for a small apartment in the city. For months, the kidnapper's tomorrow never comes; but convinced that someday it will, Lana determines that she, and only she, must find Mr. Whisper before he makes good on his promise to return (why, exactly, she thinks that way remains a mystery to me). She taps into a crime-scene-finder iPhone app and does some mostly futile digging around, but that all but stops when she and Todd learn they've won a free two-week vacation to an adventure park.
That's great, they say - we need to get away (my reaction would have been more like, "Are you kidding me? What kind of scam is this?" but then it's different strokes for different folks). And surprise, surprise - once they get to the park, the worst happens: Todd, who leaves Lana to take their son on a ride, is knocked unconscious and Cooper vanishes.
Getting a call to meet up from who she assumes is the kidnapper, Lana rushes off without telling anyone, even passing on heading to the hospital to visit her seriously injured husband. But wait, there's more: Apparently, Todd isn't as bad off as the doctors think; he, too, disappears from right under their noses. From that point on, the action really begins to heat up as Lana goes her way and Todd goes his - mostly for totally different reasons (remember that deep, dark secret)?
From that point on, it's impossible to explain what happens without giving away too much. I will emphasize, though, that the last half of the book was noticeably better and for the most part held my attention quite well. For that, I'm happy; when I'm given the opportunity to read an advance copy of a in exchange for an honest review (as with this one), I make it a rule to not give up till I at least pass that point. In this instance, that worked out for the best even though overall this book really isn't my cup of tea.
Hide and Seek by Richard Parker (Bookouture, August 2017); 393 pp.