cover image False Positive

False Positive

Andrew Grant. Ballantine, $27 (352p) ISBN 978-0-345-54075-1

Grant (Run) starts strong in the first of a new series featuring volatile Birmingham, Ala., police detective Cooper Devereaux, who seems to spend as much time suspended from the force as he does on the job. Cooper and his new partner, detective Jan Loflin, investigate the kidnapping of seven-year-old foster child Ethan Crane. Cooper and Jan are oddly suited to work together—she’s emotionally damaged from her long stint of deep undercover for the vice squad, and he had a disturbing childhood and became a teenage criminal before going straight. Their pasts aren’t window dressing but play an important part in the story. Cooper uncovers a link between Ethan’s disappearance and those of other foster children through the years. Scenes smoothly alternate between the investigation and the female kidnapper, who watches Cooper as intently as she does her next target. The plot stalls midway, but revs up toward the denouement, with a sly twist at the end. [em]Agent: Janet Reid, FinePrint Literary Management. (Jan.) [/em]