The Vanishing Point by Val McDermid | Paperback | Barnes & Noble
The Vanishing Point

The Vanishing Point

4.4 8
by Val McDermid
     
 

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“[McDermid’s] work is taut, psychologically complex and so gripping that it puts your life on hold.”—The Times (UK)

“Masterfully handled, and McDermid’s ability to wrong-foot the reader remains second to none: highly recommended.”—The Guardian (UK)

From one of the finest crime writers we

Overview

“[McDermid’s] work is taut, psychologically complex and so gripping that it puts your life on hold.”—The Times (UK)

“Masterfully handled, and McDermid’s ability to wrong-foot the reader remains second to none: highly recommended.”—The Guardian (UK)

From one of the finest crime writers we have, The Vanishing Point kicks off with a nightmare scenario—the abduction of a child in an international airport. Stephanie Harker is in the screening booth at airport security, separated from Jimmy Higgins, the five-year-old boy she’s in the process of adopting, when a man in a TSA uniform leads the boy away. The more Stephanie sounds the alarm, the more the security agents suspect her, and the further away the kidnapper gets. It soon becomes clear nothing in this situation is clear cut. For starters, Jimmy’s birth mother was a celebrity—living in a world where conspiracy and obfuscation are excused for the sake of column inches. And then there are the bad boys in both women’s pasts. As FBI agent Vivian McKuras and Scotland Yard Detective Nick Nikolaides investigate on both sides of the pond, Stephanie learns just how deep a parent’s fear can reach. And the horrifying reality is that she has good reason to be afraid—for reasons she never saw coming.

The Vanishing Point . . . is marked by [McDermid’s] trademark stunners, including a climax that packs a vicious punch. And readers are again left to marvel at her ingenuity.”—Jay Strafford, Richmond Times-Dispatch

“McDermid knows crime, but more importantly, she knows the dark side of men and women and the havoc they can wreak on each other’s lives. . . . The Vanishing Point is a stand-alone and does it ever. . . . Th[e] opening is shocking, edge-of-your-seat unnerving and violent on different levels. The reader is immediately drawn in by Harker’s overwhelming panic and fear. It’s taut, smart, vivid writing.”—Victoria Brownworth, Lambda Literary (online)

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Putting her series characters Tony Hill and Carol Jordan on the back burner temporarily, McDermid (The Retribution) delivers a solid stand-alone combining the high-stakes hunt for a missing child with the dark underbelly of celebrity culture. Usually content to work behind the scenes, ghostwriter Stephanie Harker's world changes when she signs on to write reality-TV star Scarlett Higgins's autobiography. A brash former contestant from the fictional British show Goldfish Bowl, Scarlett has made a career out of being outspoken. Stephanie and Scarlett develop an unlikely friendship, and Stephanie grows attached to Scarlett's son, Jimmy, whose father is a fame-crazed DJ. When Scarlett discovers she's dying of cancer, the question of Jimmy's future looms large. Since McDermid opens with a chilling scene in which five-year-old son Jimmy, traveling with Stephanie, is snatched from Chicago's O'Hare Airport, it's clear whom Scarlett ultimately chooses to look after her son. Stephanie and Scarlett's often tumultuous relationship is glimpsed in flashbacks, juxtaposed with the present-day search for Jimmy, hampered both by the fact that he's not Stephanie's son and the slickness of a kidnapper who leaves no tracks. Though Stephanie is quickly forgettable, larger-than-life Scarlett is a chance for McDermid to explore a different kind of ugliness than she tackles in her series novels. (Sept. 2012)
Kirkus Reviews
Against all expectations, London ghostwriter Stephanie Harker becomes friends with her latest subject, bad girl reality show star Scarlett Higgins, only to become caught up in a scheme that leads to the abduction of Scarlett's little boy. The book opens at Chicago's O'Hare Airport, where Stephanie, who has become five-year-old Jimmy's guardian, flips out when she sees a male stranger lead him away as she's being examined in a security box. After being Tasered by agents and told she's making up the abduction, she pours out an exhaustive account of the events leading up to it to a sympathetic female FBI agent. Though "Scarlett Harlot" gained fame as an epithet-spouting bimbo on a survivor-type show, Goldfish Bowl, she actually is a woman of savvy intelligence who invented that image to escape her bad circumstances. Like Stephanie, whose moody musician boyfriend attempts to control her, Scarlett has a disagreeable mate: a gadabout club DJ who is into drugs and guns. The women become close, shutting the men out of their lives after Jimmy is born, and closer still after Scarlett is diagnosed with cancer. To escape the tabloids, Scarlett imports a half sister who looks a lot like her to be her public surrogate. The story also involves a British detective with whom Stephanie becomes involved, a doctor who devotes himself to the terminal Scarlett, and a Romanian nanny. For all its twists, the narrative never gains traction. The plotting is so mechanical, the writing so pedestrian ("She watched, the tension in her body growing with every passing minute"), you half suspect this book was concocted not by McDermid, author of such masterpieces as A Place of Execution (2000), but a different kind of ghostwriter. If anything vanishes in this book, it's the first-rate writing fans of McDermid (best known in the States for her Wire in the Blood series) have come to expect.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802121769
Publisher:
Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date:
09/10/2013
Pages:
416
Sales rank:
600,488
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.30(d)

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Meet the Author


Val McDermid is the author of twenty-five previous best-selling novels, which have been translated into over forty languages and have sold over ten million copies worldwide.

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