Here’s one reason why this thriller by the author of the Kevin Corvelli legal mysteries works so well: it’s fast paced and lean, topping out at barely 300 pages. Here’s another reason: Simon Fisk, the former U.S. marshal who makes his living finding children who have been abducted by their estranged parents, is an excellent character. He has a tortured past, of course—that’s de rigueur for thriller heroes—but his is especially tortured: years ago, his own daughter was taken by an unknown individual, and his wife committed suicide shortly after. Fisk vowed he would never take a case involving “stranger abduction,” but this case is too compelling for him to ignore: the young daughter of an American couple, on vacation in Paris, has been kidnapped, apparently not for ransom. And here’s another reason why you can’t put the book down: once the story kicks into high gear, which is pretty much at the top of page 2, it doesn’t let up, period. The story moves as fast as Fisk’s BMW motorcycle, which takes him from Berlin to Warsaw, as he tracks the men who took the missing girl. It’s a violent story, like the Liam Neeson movie Taken (which shares some DNA with this book), but the violence is essential to the story. This is a remarkable change of pace from the lighter, more leisurely Corvelli mysteries, and—we can only hope—merely the first of many Simon Fisk novels.
This review originally appeared in Booklist, June 2013.