The Perfect Couple
Mira, Aug 2009, $7.99
In Sacramento, single mom Zoe Duncan becomes engaged to her live-in lover Anton Lucassi. However, her euphoria ends when her thirteen years old daughter Sam vanishes without a trace. No one saw her leave the house and the police find no evidence of foul play so they conclude the child is a teen runaway.
Desperate and despondent, Zoe hires private investigator Jonathan Stivers. He studies the police report and interviews the neighbors, but all of them like the Bells insist they saw nothing out of the ordinary. Jon makes no progress until a report of a kidnapped imprisoned teenage boy surfaces that sounds too similar to the Duncan investigation to ignore. As he compares the two cases, he hones in on the Bells, but is far from sure if what they are hiding involves two missing young teens.
This a dark abduction thriller in which the entire key cast members are fully developed especially the mother, the villain and the hero. The story line is fast-paced from the moment Zoe realizes Sam is gone as the hopelessness grows inside her gut with Jonathan seemingly her “last stand”. The key to this super investigative tale is a romance never surfaces between the sleuth and the distraught mom though Stivers’ eyes let everyone know he thinks Zoe is beautiful; rescuing the children comes first, second and last. Fans will relish Brenda Novak’s taut tale of a mother’s worst nightmare.