The Keeper

Meg O'Brien, Author Doubleday Books $18.5 (276p) ISBN 978-0-385-42482-0
The author of four mysteries starring reporter Jesse James ( The Daphne Decisions , etc.) takes a break from her series to offer a simplistic plucky-heroine-in-a-tough-spot scenario that she gives narrative drive through a handful of gut-wrenching sequences involving a kidnapped child, and through a neatly drawn conclusion. Brooke Hayes, a divorced recovering alcoholic who is now trying to get back into acting and motherhood, receives a phone call from her panic-stricken daughter Charly, who manages only a few terrified words before the line goes dead. Ex-husband Nathan, with whom Charly currently lives, insists the child is fine but then disappears himself. Brooke turns for help to John Creed, a former cop perilously close to depression and terminal burnout whose own son disappeared five years ago, and who now lives in a Los Angeles house full of long-dead files, photos of missing kids, computer records and unsolved cases. O'Brien's various California locations seldom come to life, and in Brooke she has created an odd yet superficial character, but she manipulates the chase formula with great style, keeping Nathan's level of deceit carefully under wraps until very near the close, and delivering the requisite happy ending by means of a pleasantly off-center assignment of guilt. ( Oct. )
Reviewed on: 08/31/1992
Release date: 09/01/1992
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-553-29878-9
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