Thursday, November 19, 2009

Blind Pursuit

Blind Pursuit by Matthew F. Jones
trade paperback, 244 pages
Delta, 1997
ISBN-13: 978038531999

Synopsis from cover:
Into Thin Air
She was sitting on a bench holding her book bag when the large black sedan pulled up to the curb. In an instant, the second-grader climbed in and disappeared. The only witness was a twelve-year-old truant who told police what he saw when Jennifer Follett didn't come home. Suddenly the meticulously ordered lives of power couple Edmund and Caroline Follett are thrown into chaos as they are forced to ask questions they had no time to ask before... about the nanny they hired in haste... and about neighbors they barely know... as the frantic search for their daughter begins.

My thoughts:

Blind Pursuit is a procedural crime investigation novel which carefully keeps track of the day and time events take place. When young Jennifer climbed into the black sedan, my heart stopped. As an 11 yr old I actually had a black sedan follow me once and I ran up to a house, causing it to drive off - quickly. That's a story for another time, but I mention it because Blind Pursuit had my attention from the start. However, it's potential to be very good was never realized. The writing felt uneven to me. While at times the writing was really quite good, in some places it was awkward, especially in the dialogue with the stop-and-start of thoughts and sentences. All of the characters were undeveloped. While waiting for a twist or some surprise, I was disappointed to learn in the end there were no surprises. Blind Pursuit was certainly worth reading, but ultimately it is unmemorable.

6:25 A.M. His first whiff of the still-dark morning through his bedroom window informed Darren Cay it wasn't a school day, though he didn't share the insight with his parents. Instead, over breakfast, he told them he would ride his bike the six miles to school, as he often did, rather than take the bus. opening

Then, from the direction of town, an approaching car prompted Darren to duck down. When he looked up again, a large black sedan sat beyond the end of the long, snaking drive, around twenty yards past the Follett girl. It slowly backed up and stopped short of the drive, still several feet from the girl. The front passenger door swung open.
The little girl—she was wearing a bright yellow dress—stood up, hesitantly stepped toward the car, then halted. The sedan edged back a few more feet. The girl glanced up at the house. A moment later she ran back to the bench, picked up her lunch sack, slung the book bag over her shoulder, trotted the rest of the way to the idling car, and climbed into the front seat. The door shut. The sedan slowly moved off, away from town. pg 4-5

The car moved slowly past the gate. A hand came off the wheel and acknowledged Ned. Ned tipped his hat. Behind the visor, the driver, a businessman type, looked to Ned to be middle-aged. He was wearing a dress shirt but no tie. A briefcase and what looked like a tripod sat on the backseat. Ned guessed the man was a realtor who'd been taking photographs of the unoccupied land above his. pg. 7

"Your daughter, Jennifer, attends the Criley Elementary School here in town, Mr. Follett, is that correct?"
"The second grade. Yes." Edmund swallowed hard once, then again, but failed to remove the impediment in his throat. "Is there a problem, Detective?"
"Probably not, Mr. Follett. The reason I'm calling is your daughter, she didn't show up in school today, and we're wondering if—"
"Didn't what? I don't under ... What do you mean didn't show up?"
"Her teacher says she wasn't there." pg. 10

At eight-fifteen, the volunteers—mostly parents—met and decided, in lieu of halting the search for the night, to keep looking for two more hours, when, if Jennifer Follett hadn't been found, they would reconvene. pg. 17

"I'm sure," said Levy, from a backless divan, "when word gets around—in tomorrow's paper and—"
"Even," added Abbott, rigidly perching next to him, "on tonight's late edition of the local news."
"—that a person or persons will come forward with relevant information—"
"But the fact that she's—Jennifer's—already been missing over twelve hours!" interjected Caroline. "Really, since seven o'clock this morning!" pg. 18

This isn't about you, Hannah. It's about Jennifer. Aren't you concerned about what's happened?"
"Of course I am. I love Jennifer. If whatever happened to her is partly my fault, I—I am sure ..." She shook her head as if to clear it. "I mean I have the feeling that—she will show up—healthy..."
"Anyway, you'll never trust me again."
Edmund was perturbed at how, in Hannah's mind, the focus of the tragedy seemed to be fixed solely on her, as if Jennifer's disappearance was simply the mechanism that triggered her own misfortune. pg. 22-23

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