cover image Out of Mind

Out of Mind

Catherine Sampson, . . Mysterious, $23.95 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-89296-814-5

In British author Sampson's uneven second thriller (after 2004's Falling Off Air ), London TV journalist Robin Ballantyne looks into the disappearance of a colleague, Melanie Jacobs, an adventurous camerawoman. Warned off the case by her bosses, Robin persists, even traveling to Cambodia to interview the last person to see Melanie alive, former Special Forces officer Mike Darling, now a private security specialist. Back in London, Robin is drawn to Darling's extended family. When baby Christopher Darling is kidnapped, Robin suspects a link with Melanie's case and determines to investigate, despite continued opposition from her employer and the police, including her lover, DCI Tom Finney. Robin is the kind of heroine who ignores advice, makes instinctive accusations, forges ahead, steps on figurative and literal minefields, yet—the unusual feature of this series—is a caring and concerned single mother of twins. As in her first novel, Sampson assembles a bewilderingly large cast of intriguing characters, especially Robin's dysfunctional family, and meanders into subplots that are well done but distracting, then produces a slam-bang climax revealing a surprise culprit. Agent, Amanda Preston. (Aug.)