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DEADLINE
by Simon Kernick
Corgi, July 2008
364 pages
6.99 GBP
ISBN: 0552156604


Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Andrea Devern has done well for herself. She has an adored teenaged daughter, Emma, a husband of whom she is quite fond - and a lot of money that her own hard work has earned her. Unfortunately, criminals are aware of the money and are determined to make it their own. Thus, they kidnap Emma and stash her somewhere she is not likely to be found.

Andrea contracts a former husband, Jimmy, and enlists his aid instead of the police, whose involvement, she has been assured, will ensure the death of her daughter. She tells Jimmy that Emma is his daughter and therefore he must help Andrea wrest her from the kidnappers. Needless to say, thanks to the kidnappers themselves, she must eventually give in and call the police and Mike Bolt is on the case. Could Pat Phelan, Andrea's present husband, possibly have conspired in this cruel crime, despite his professed fondness for both wife and stepdaughter?

Emma is being held by a pair of thugs. She knows that her ultimate safety relies on her not being able to identify the men, so she is almost always careful to keep the hood they gave over her head. The kidnappers make her talk to her mother, to ensure Andrea knows she is still alive.

Bolt, meanwhile, has an extra incentive beyond his professional responsibility to help Andrea have her daughter returned to her. In the dim past, Andrea and Bolt had been an item. Following their breakup, Andrea had set out to make herself a lot of money while Bolt had married someone else, but remained childless.

Kernick, as is usual, produces a professional, well-researched thriller that certainly doesn't spare the emotions of the reader - especially if the reader is a parent. The author carefully builds up the suspense as the adventure proceeds. He never discloses too much, or exposes the reader to too much shock in one go. His methods are always plausible and the disclosure of the nature of one of the kidnappers comes at just the right time to ratchet up the tension to a further, believable peak.

The characters are particularly credible. Andrea's response is especially believable as she strives to preserve her child's life, while at the same time attempting to understand the mystery. The reader's sympathy for the victim increases as the story unfolds

If there is a criticism to be made of this work, it can only be for the amount of dangerous incident that is piled upon dangerous incident for all concerned. Kernick has certainly improved in his writing since the earlier book of his that I read.

Reviewed by Denise Pickles, June 2008

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)


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