St. Martin's Jun 2004, 24.95, 368 pp.
Nine year old Pippa Pascal persuades her ultra-busy mom Clara to take her to school today since it is her birthday. Though the barrister is working on a major case with early appointments, still Clara is conned into dropping her daughter off to the amusement of her spouse Hugo. However, at the school following the mandatory cautionary motherly pitch to stay safe, Clara turns towards her vehicle only to have a red ski masked male abduct her.
While Clara is chained to a wall in a clammy cellar with no food, water, or a toilet, the culprit remains silent behind his mask. Clara ponders who and why, but comes up empty. Meanwhile Detective Inspector Steve Lawson investigates the kidnapping with two prime suspects in mind: the spouse and a mobster she is prosecuting. Though held prisoner with Bastille-like conditions, Clara refuses to break or beg. Instead she fascinates her host when with Úlan she psychological assaults him though that track fails to move the culprit. As time moves on, Clara's chance of survival geometrically diminishes.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner