cover image No Show

No Show

Simon Wood. Amazon/Thomas & Mercer, $14.95 (350p) ISBN 978-1-6121-8407-4

Englishman Terry Sheffield arrives in San Francisco to settle in with his American bride, investigative journalist Sarah Sheffield, only to discover that she has vanished. Terry's missing-wife story is met with skepticism by Sheriff Holman as well as Terry's new employer, a sketchy biotech firm called Genavax. After his arrest and release by the suspicious Sheriff Holman, Terry rifles through Sarah's papers for clues to her disappearance. He discovers a list with the names of four women who were brutally murdered; their only common link is they were whistleblowers and their fatal injuries were unusual and identical. Meanwhile, chill and hostility greet Terry at his new job: His boss, "Ice Maiden" Pamela Dawson, and her right hand, "Frosty" Luke Frazer, are unlikeable from day one. Red flags assure danger for Terry once he stumbles onto illegal testing at Genavax, followed by getting locked inside a near-cryogenically cold freezer, at negative thirty degrees. Suspecting a connection between Sarah's work, Genavax and a possibly corrupt sheriff, Terry flushes out the murderer, leading to a taut and unpredictable conclusion. Simon (We All Fall Down) spares readers overly violent passages, while vividly describing the crime scenes and the freezer incident. Ambition, revenge, jealous colleagues, and lovesick reporters all stoke the plot of this dark, meaty whodunit. (July)