cover image What Janie Found

What Janie Found

Caroline B. Cooney. Delacorte Press, $15.95 (192pp) ISBN 978-0-385-32611-7

Fans of the series may be reluctant to say good-bye to Janie Johnson, the unwitting kidnap victim whose efforts to deal with the trauma of her belated discovery of the circumstances surrounding her kidnapping have filled three riveting novels (beginning with The Face on the Milk Carton). Chances are they'll snap up this installment, which the publisher bills as the conclusion. Here Janie's ""kidnap father,"" Frank Johnson, is gravely ill, and Janie, managing the accounting books while Mr. Johnson is in the hospital, discovers that all along he has been sending money to his birth daughter, Hannah--Janie's kidnapper. Janie feels betrayed, and so might the audience, given that an infallible character had found proof of Hannah's death in the preceding installment, The Voice on the Radio. After much gnashing of teeth and lengthy speculations by the major characters (Janie, boy-next-door Reeve and Janie's real brother Brian), they end up going to Colorado, where Hannah lives, because Janie wants to confront her. Conveniently, Janie and Brian's older brother attends college there and has only recently learned that his girlfriend happens to be the daughter of a retired FBI agent. Fortunately, the conflicts roil as hotly as the coincidences. While this novel is the weakest in the sequence, Cooney remains a master of the gossipy, insider-style narration, and she never tips her hand. The answer to ""what Janie found"" will keep readers guessing all the way to the end. Ages 12-up. (Jan.)