Ballantine, Mar 2001, 23.00, 304 pp.
Twelve years ago, four-year-old Timmy Cable vanished while walking alongside his father Jack on the beach. He took his eyes off his son for a few seconds and that is all it took for the kid to disappear. A happy family remained shattered as they wait for news about their missing child that never came.
Timmy's mother Olivia believes she has seen her lost son, playing guitar for cash on the streets of Cambridge, England. Not wanting his spouse hurt again, Jack hires sleuth Laura Principal of Aardvark Investigations to learn what she can about the teenager, Liam, who remains reticent about his background. However, two incidents lead the Cables to believe they have found Timmy, leaving it up to Laura to determine the truth.
IN THE MIDNIGHT HOUR is a well-crafted tale filled with unexpected twists. Most of the plot revolves around whether Liam is actually Timmy, but a subplot concerning Laura and her lover-partner adds depth to the story-line. Michelle Spring proves her gift as a storyteller by keeping the audience's attention throughout the novel even while striking at one of the worse nightmares a parent can face. Do not look for cute explanations that tie a ribbon on this suspense novel. Instead, readers will feel the increasing tension as they wonder until the very end whether Liam is Timmy and, if yes or no, what really happened on the beach that day.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner