Vanishing Point: 6

Judith Van Gieson, Author Signet Book $5.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-451-20240-6
In her second Claire Reynier Mystery (following The Stolen Blue), Van Gieson evokes the desert beauty of New Mexico with meticulous care but fails to draw her key amateur investigator, university archivist Claire Reynier, with emotional depth. Fifty-one-year-old Claire has spent years preserving the legend of Jonathan Vail, a controversial writer from the 1960s who vanished while hiking with his girlfriend, Jennie Dell, through Utah's Slickrock Canyon. Jonathan's mysterious but timely disappearance occurred shortly after he was drafted to serve in Vietnam, and his body, as well as the journal he was purportedly writing, never resurfaced. As an archivist, Claire must focus on the facts, and when a graduate student uncovers the 30-year-old journal while nosing around in Slickrock canyon, Claire senses that Jonathan's disappearance may not have been the result of a simple accident. Although Van Gieson manages to keep the reader guessing throughout, the main characters--Claire, her boss Harrison, the mysterious Lou, ranger Curt Devereux and the elusive Jennie Dell--never quite come to life. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 02/01/2001
Release date: 02/01/2001
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