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by Andrew Gross
William Morrow, July 2012
322 pages
ISBN: 006165597X

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Henry Steadman is a plastic surgeon in Florida who has landed a spot as the keynote speaker at a convention in North Carolina. While there, he's also planning on playing some golf with an old friend on a renowned course. But, as they, say, "the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry." While driving from the airport to his hotel, Henry turns illegally and is stopped by the police. Little does he know that this simple event will change his life in ways that are inconceivable. First of all, he is arrested for the minor traffic violation and finds himself surrounded by police. When he is finally released, the officer who originally stopped him is killed by a shot from a car driving by. Of course, it is assumed that Henry is the perpetrator. Obviously, Henry can't report in to the police; instead, he attempts to follow the vehicle. Not knowing what to do, he drives to his golfing buddy's house and finds that his friend has been murdered.

It's clear that Henry is the victim of an elaborate frame-up, but he has no idea why someone would go so far to incriminate him. But someone does, someone who blames Henry for destroying his daughter's life. Her father is determined to make Henry pay and goes so far as to kidnap Henry's daughter, Hallie. Henry joins forces with a female cop, Carrie Holmes, who he talked to on a hot line when trying to call in anonymously; together, they work to find the villain before he kills Hallie.

The frame-up that Gross concocted was ingenious—it was upsetting to see how successful the plan was to ruin Henry. The suspense rose dramatically throughout the book. The high level of anxiety was marred for me by a technique Gross used wherein he uses an exclamation point at the end of nearly every sentence when the tension was mounting! I found those sections hard to read! I could almost hear each sentence in my head, with the end of it rising! ARGGGHHH!!! Admittedly, that was a minor flaw in a book that was enjoyable overall. I really liked the sections where Carrie Holmes and Steadman worked together to uncover what was going on.

§ Formerly a training development manager for a large company, Maddy is now retired and continues to enable the addiction of crime fiction fans as owner of the online discussion group, 4 Mystery Addicts(4MA), while avidly reading in every possible free moment herself.

Reviewed by Maddy Van Hertbruggen, August 2012

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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