Aaron Tucker is a freelance writer/editor with dreams of being a screenwriter. Living in suburban New Jersey doesn't really serve that dream very well, but Aaron's devotion to his wife, Abigail, and their children Ethan and Leah, keeps him on the East Coast, writing for local newspapers and national magazines.
When a woman in Aaron's hometown vanishes in the middle of the night, he is asked by her husband, Gary Beckwirth, to investigate the disappearance, based on Aaron's ancient history as an investigative reporter. Aaron protests that he's not suited to the job, but Beckwirth is insistent.
Meanwhile, Aaron's son Ethan, who suffers from a form of autism called Asperger's Syndrome, finds himself being bullied by other fifth graders, and someone writes an obscene message on the sidewalk, directed at Ethan, in barbecue sauce. Another mystery for Aaron to solve.
When Aaron has exhausted his limited range of investigative tactics, he's about to resign from the case when Madlyn Beckwirth calls him. She says she's fine and he should stop trying to find her, then hangs up. Aaron traces the call to an Atlantic City casino/hotel, and when he gets there, finds Madlyn dead in her hotel bed.
So Aaron decides to stop letting the killer--or killers--lead him around, and does what he does best: Aaron starts to annoy the possible suspects.
With the trap set, the only thing left to do is send Abby and the children out of danger. Aaron sits down and watches the baseball game on TV until the door, which he's left unlocked, opens.
This report prepared by Jeffrey Cohen
Bancroft Press, Sept 2002, 19.95, 261 pp.
Aaron Tucker stays at home as a father for his two children. He works as a free lance reporter but wants to be a scriptwriter. His wife is an attorney in a prestigious firm, which is all the more puzzling when wealthy and powerful Gary Beckworth wants Aaron to find his missing wife Madlyn. He doesn't want the police, a good private eye, or even a lawyer, just Aaron and the freelance reporter is at a loss to explain why.
Gary's action's are strange too since he doesn't want his son questioned or Aaron nosing around the neighborhood. Aaron investigates every link he can find until the day Madlyn calls him up from an Atlantic City hotel to tell him she's fine and coming home in a few days. Unable to let matters rest there, Aaron traces Madlyn to her motel room where he finds her on the bed with two bullets in her body.
Jeffrey Cohen's debut novel is a smashing success due to a riveting story line, a fast-paced plot, and a hero who is a combination of James Bond and Bart Simpson. He's a lovable family man who puts his wife and children first but when he has some free time look out because anything can and usually does happen.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner