Allison Lynn, Author . Touchstone $13 (281p) ISBN 978-0-7432-5026-9

Journalist Lynn revamps the classic conceit of the disappearing wife with some Manhattan-Peruvian suspense in her polished, rather chilly first novel. David, a travel editor, and Jessica, a teacher, are an early-30s married couple of privileged background living in New York City, whose desire for children and inability to conceive expose some deep-seated stress in their marriage. David is nonchalant about his secure place in the world (he's an ex-club kid whose sinecure at Travel Excursions magazine masks his serious journalistic intentions), while Jessica is increasingly troubled by the emptiness of their lives. Then Jessica disappears, seemingly of her own accord, despite the suspicious chain of serial rapes in the neighborhood. In alternating sections, Lynn fills in the story of the couple's marriage, beginning with their honeymoon in Peru, where David gets wind of a missing American businessman trekker and sends Jessica back to New York so he can chase the story. Four years later, when Jessica disappears, the American trekker in Peru is spotted again, linked to a radical leftist guerrilla group. David again races to pursue the elusive details, uncovering merely a false trail and a tantalizing metaphor for the fate of his own wife. Lynn's structure is elegant and her characters are hip if rather vapid and self-serving; the problem is the novel's glib tone, which nullifies any sympathy the reader might have for its protagonists. Jessica's malaise is too generic to be affecting ("This isn't the life I was meant for, this isn't all there is"), and thus her disappearance seems like any other fashionable gesture by her set, not to be taken seriously. Agent, Lane Zachary. (July 13)

Reviewed on: 05/10/2004
Release date: 07/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4177-2100-9
Hardcover - 447 pages - 978-0-7862-6692-0
Ebook - 304 pages - 978-0-7432-7005-2
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