cover image Hooked: A Thriller About Love and Other Addictions

Hooked: A Thriller About Love and Other Addictions

Matt Richtel, . . Hachette/Twelve, $24.99 (292pp) ISBN 978-0-446-58008-3

This oddly flat thriller from first-time novelist Richtel opens with a warning in a dead girlfriend's handwriting, followed by an explosion in a San Francisco cafe. Matt Idle, who barely escapes, is perplexed by the note: his girlfriend Annie—from a very wealthy family involved in various opaque concerns—was swept off her sailboat four years ago and never seen again. Matt tracks down survivors of the blast, including waitress Erin Coultra, whose actions make Matt suspicious; when the home of aspiring novelist Simon Anderson, another survivor, catches on fire, Matt's suspicions intensify. Matt's investigations take him to Strawberry Labs, Annie's family company possibly named after Annie's childhood Labrador retriever that may be doing drug-related business. Despite intentionally short chapters à la The Da Vinci Code , Richter (who writes the comic strip Rudy Park under nom de plume Theron Heir) has trouble bringing Matt to life or tension to the plot—in part because of Matt's first-person flashbacks to his relationship with Annie. Richtel's trying to do a brainy update of classic noir, but falls slightly short. (June)