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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Ridley Pearson is a thriller writer with a bite. His novels, from Probable Cause to Beyond Recognition, carry the requisite killers, victims, smart cops, bad cops, forensic investigations, and other police procedural hallmarks to ensure a major readership, but what he also brings to the genre is a powerful talent for writing suspenseful scenes, in rapid-fire succession. I've been hooked on his stuff since Under Currents, and not one of his novels has been disappointing to me.
The Pied Piper is simply drawn, and yet I was completely entangled in its story line. Pearson is truly a master at work as he details the ins and outs of police work on a crime scene and sets up the mystery at the center of this delightfully entertaining thriller.
And yeah, it is a roller coaster, make no mistake. Hang on for dear life and just go with the suspense. It rarely gets better than this.
The setting is Seattle, and a woman is edgy as she and her husband board a special dinner train as a way of celebrating their anniversary. It's the first time she's left her two young children behind, and she feels trapped on the train, unable to check on their babysitter. When she finally calls from the train, there's no answer.
What a neighbor has already discovered is the babysitter knocked out cold on the floor, and the children gone. In the baby's crib is a small plastic flute. This is the hallmark of the Pied Piper, a kidnapper or ring of kidnappers who take children.
Before the parents even have a chance to leave their train, the police and detectives are swarmingoverthe small suburban home. Pearson fans will enjoy seeing the entrance of Lieutenant Lou Boldt as he joins his colleagues at the scene of the crime to try and piece together what happened and possibly find out why. Soon, his partner-in-investigations, forensic psychologist Daphne Matthews, joins him. Other faces familiar to Pearson fans also emerge, but Lou and Daphne definitely take over. Immediately they go to work to learn anything they can from possible witnesses. This is not the first kidnapping for the Pied Piper. Whoever has committed these acts has been terrifying communities for six months, and with diabolical brilliance. The FBI and police itself have been used by the Pied Piper, and their fumblings only served to allow this kidnapper to continue on his deadly course.
Daphne and Lou must work together to track the Pied Piper before another child is taken. And when another child is taken, it is too close to home for Lou Boldt.
This is a fast-paced psychological thriller that has blockbuster written all over it. Ridley Pearson has a real knack for keeping the action going through the various layers of his plot, and while some of the action might be predictable, it is never slow-going, and always fascinating. Lou Boldt and Daphne Matthews are wonderful detectives to follow as they — and we — find out more about the Pied Piper and the fate of the children he snatches.
For those who love masterful suspense and high-octane thrills, The Pied Piperis up there with the best of Ridley Pearson. Recommended.