Sunday, January 1, 2017

Captured by Neil Cross

Kenny Drummond gets the news no one expects to hear.  He has stage four terminal brain cancer and has only weeks to live without treatment, maybe a few months with horrific treatments.  Kenny opts to not do treatment and sets about putting his life in order.  He is single with no children.  His marriage had dissolved after a stillborn baby but he is still good friends with his ex-wife.  He lives in a remote cottage where he makes a living painting portraits.  He has no close friends or any relatives.
As he prepares, he decides this is the time to make amends to anyone he wronged.  He can think of only a few and most insist his sins were minor and nothing to worry about.  But then there is Callie Barton.  Back when he was a young child, shunned at school because of his strange father and motherless home, only Callie had treated him kindly.  He never told her how much that meant and decides this is the time.

He goes to his one friend, an ex-cop and asks her to help him locate Callie.  What she turns up instead is troubling.  Callie disappeared several years before and has never been found.  Her husband, Jonathan Reese, was the main suspect.  Kenny determines to find out what happened to Callie and get her justice.

In order to do this, he kidnaps Jonathan and takes him to his cottage.  He imprisons him there, telling him that he will let him go when he tells him what happened to Callie.  Jonathan is adamant that he had nothing to do with Callie's disappearance but Kenny is not convinced.  Is he right or is the cancer in his brain making him read the situation wrong?

This book is chilling.  The reader finds himself cheering Kenny on, even as an impartial view shows that he is doing a horrific crime.  The devolution of the men's relationship mimics the devolution of Kenny's health and sanity.  Neil Cross is a screenwriter who wrote for the Dr. Who and Spooks television series in England before writing the tremendously successful Luther series.  One of his novels has been long-listed for the Booker Prize.  This novel is recommended for mystery readers.

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