Lost Innocents

Patricia MacDonald, Author
Patricia MacDonald, Author Warner Books $23.5 (295p) ISBN 978-0-446-51687-7
Reviewed on: 06/01/1998
Release date: 06/01/1998
Hardcover - 978-1-57490-216-7
Ebook - 978-0-446-55055-0
Mass Market Paperbound - 359 pages - 978-0-446-60759-9
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Mothers and children are the emotional fulcrum of thriller veteran MacDonald's well-plotted but shallow latest (after Secret Admirer). Six-month-old Justin Wallace and his teenage baby-sitter are abducted from a small-town park; the police find the baby-sitter's body in the woods, but baby Justin's fate is unclear. Meanwhile, high-school teacher Doug Blake has just been exonerated of sexually harassing the daughter of the local police chief, but his compulsive attraction to his teenage charges threatens the happiness of his wife, Maddy, and their small daughter. Soon witnesses place Doug at the scene of the abduction. Is the police chief simply carrying out a vendetta against Doug? Or does Doug know more than he admits? Maddy battles a dangerous attraction to her charismatic priest, Father Nick, as she tries to hold her world together. Other suspects include a childless, middle-aged woman obsessed with the death of her son and a sinister born-again couple who move into the Blakes' house after a minor car accident and arouse Maddy's suspicions: Could their beautiful child be Justin Wallace? Maddy's knowledge puts her into a perilous situation from which only Father Nick can save her. Despite this competent sequence of events, the novel suffers from MacDonald's superficial insight into characters, and the happy ending to Maddy's tribulations is all-too predictable. (June)
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