cover image HINDSIGHT


Barbara Rogan, . . Simon & Schuster, $24 (352pp) ISBN 978-0-7432-0599-3

A reunion for long-lost high school friends is the focus of this seventh suspense novel by Rogan (Suspicion). The night of their high school graduation in 1972, nine friends agree to meet in 20 years. Over the next two decades they drift apart, but shortly before the 20-year mark, Willa Scott Durell bumps into fellow alum Patrick Mulhaven at a New York reading for her latest biography. They decide to track down the seven others and arrange the promised reunion. With the help of Joven Luisi, private eye, they find everyone except Angel Busky, the "easy" girl, who seems to have vanished completely. The rest of the novel investigates what happened to Angel, who was pregnant before she disappeared. When a second member of their gang, Vinnie Delgaudio, dies during their reunion weekend, it forces them to explore dark events from the past in which they were all complicit. Although the mystery of Angel's disappearance is suspenseful, the characterizations are weak. Each member of the gang is a standard type: Jeremiah the valedictorian, Travis the pothead, Vinnie the tough guy, etc. Their adult selves are the predictable grown-up versions of these stereotypes. These putative children of the '70s say things like "How very kind" or "I'd say you're a day late and a dollar short." In addition, the author sometimes uses distracting, convoluted syntax: "The people sent to fetch her inevitably took upon themselves her entertainment through chatter, which in turn obliged her to hold up her end just when she felt least sociable." There isn't enough substance here to create a true feeling of nostalgia, and the suspense and violence seem merely sensational. Agent, Joy Harris. (Feb.)