Thomas H. Cook. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $23 (289pp) ISBN 978-0-15-101250-3
In this affecting, if oddly flat, crime novel from Edgar-winner Cook (The Chatham School Affair), Eric Moore, a prosperous businessman, watches his safe, solid world disintegrate. When eight-year-old Amy Giordano, whom Eric's teenage son, Keith, was babysitting, disappears from her family's house, many believe Keith is an obvious suspect, and not even his parents are completely convinced that he wasn't somehow involved. As time passes without Amy being found, a corrosive suspicion seeps into every aspect of Eric's life. That suspicion is fed by Eric's shaky family history-a father whose failed plans led from moderate wealth to near penury, an alcoholic older brother who's never amounted to much, a younger sister fatally stricken with a brain tumor and a mother driven to suicide. Not even Eric's loving wife, Meredith, is immune from his doubts as he begins to examine and re-examine every aspect of his life. The ongoing police investigation and the anguish of the missing girl's father provide periodic goads as Eric's futile attempts to allay his own misgivings seem only to lead him into more desperate straits.
Reviewed on: 05/30/2005