Customer Reviews for

The Vanishing Point

Average Rating 4.5
( 6 )
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  • Posted September 25, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    The Vanishing Point

    In her twenty-sixth novel, a standalone, Val McDermid goes rather far afield from her previous books. It opens with a child abduction at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. While a passenger is going through an airport security check, a man in what appears to be a TSA uniform appears and guides the five-year-old boy traveling with her through the terminal and they both seem to disappear. It soon falls to 27-year-old FBI Special Agent Vivian McKuras to interview the woman, Stephanie Harker, the godmother [and planned adoptive mother] of the little boy, Jimmy. The boy’s mother, Scarlett Higgins [dubbed by the media as The Scarlett Harlot] had been a reality-tv star, one of those famous for being famous, with whom Stephanie had ghost-written several books, becoming best friends in the process. The question becomes: Had this been “a random abduction, a spur-of-the-moment snatch,” or had Jimmy been a very specific target?

    In order to ascertain into which category this falls, Vivian questions Stephanie at length as to the entire background and history of all concerned. What ensues is a rather lengthy tale, the story zig-zagging from those flashbacks to the present time as the investigation shifts into high gear. The boy’s father, who Scarlett married shortly before his birth in a media-planned circus, had died from a drug-overdose not long afterwards, Scarlett more recently after a very public battle with cancer. Stephanie puts Vivian in touch with a UK counterpart, and everything becomes more complex. As it nears its end, the plot takes a very unexpected turn, morphing into a stunning conclusion.

    Stephanie is a fascinating protagonist, one who takes refuge in her profession. When it is suggested to her that she could sell her story to a magazine, her response is: “‘I don’t want to have a story.’ I like being a ghost. Insubstantial. Transparent. Anonymous.” An intriguing tale it is, in which manic stalkers [of both genders] are a theme. [The author thoughtfully includes a glossary at book’s end, translating Brit-speak for the American readers.] Val McDermid just keeps getting better.

    Highly recommended.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 19, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    There are certain authors I always can count on to provide me w


    There are certain authors I always can count on to provide me with an excellent read, a brief escape into a world I can laugh at or be mesmerized by, a world that shakes me to the core for one reason or another. I understand, though, that many of those authors whose work I admire so much might stumble now and then. The Vanishing Point is Val McDermid‘s stumble.

    Ms. McDermid is a wonderful writer—I have enjoyed everything of hers I’ve read until this one—and even this has some redeeming aspects. It’s not a BAD book; it just doesn’t rise to the level of her usual top notch work and that becomes evident early in the story.

    Most of the disappointment I had was in regard to the credibility of the story. For a woman who shows a lot of inner strength and is clearly able to take care of herself, Stephanie seems too insecure, beyond what could be attributed to her past relationship. More importantly, what happens in the airport just isn’t believable enough. Stephanie knows she will have to be screened or patted down because of the metal in her leg so why wouldn’t she make sure the child stayed close by? As much as we, the public, dislike the behavior of a few TSA employees (and as much as we may hate the whole system), I have a hard time believing they would so totally dismiss her screams for help when she sees what’s happening. And, when it becomes obvious that time is critical, no FBI agent would allow Stephanie to go on and on with the backstory, nor would Stephanie want to blather on while little is being done to find Jimmy. The last straw for me was when I realized that she was inexplicably hesitant to tell the FBI agent about the person who is very likely to be behind the kidnapping.

    Unfortunately, with such plot holes early on, I found it hard to engage with the story or even take it as seriously as such a topic deserves but I did finish the book, hoping Ms. McDermid would pull it together. To a certain extent, she did, but the twist ending was too little too late. I have no doubt the author will get back on track with the next book and I’m certainly going to look forward to it but, sadly, this one is not a keeper for me. Our reactions to books are very personal, though, and many of her devoted readers will like it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2012

    very good

    interesting like all others from this author

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2013

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    Posted January 13, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2014

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