The story is about a child who, after missing for 5 years, suddenly returns to his home with no memory of what happened, and the journalist who tries to find out what did happen to him, though the police aren't interested at all. Henry Parker is a journalist who is given an exclusive interview with a returned missing child and finds that beneath the boy's story is a bigger one, one that he is compelled to uncover. He is granted the interview at the suggestion of Senator Gray Talbott, because he thought Henry would be sensitive and fair and not sensationalize the story. Henry is grateful because he has only been a reporter for the NY Gazette for a couple of years and he loves digging into the story. The boy disappeared one day without a trace and then reappeared with absolutely no memory whatsoever of what happened to him, but also with evidence that he was abused at all. During the interview he mentions that when he was dropped off he remembered hearing police sirens, he also keeps mentioning his brothers, though he only has one. Henry finishes the interview, but the mention of more than one brother bothers him so he mentions it to his editor, who agrees he can look into not only that, but the fact that the police have seemingly no interest in finding out what happened to him for 5 years and who took him.
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He calls back the home and is greeted with less than stellar cooperation which makes him more suspicious, In addition, when he calls the local cops, he is told to leave it alone, the neighborhood is good now and the kid is home. When he was kidnapped, the neighborhood was going downhill, but after the kidnapping, Sen, Talbott went on a crusade to clean up the neighborhood and he did. Following his phone calls, Talbott visits Henry's editor and tells him to stop investigating, citing the family's need to get back together. His ediitor calls him off the story, but Henry decodes to investigate on his own.
He wonders if there were other kidnappings like this and after research finds that there were. One was nearby in Connecticut, also in an area that was going downhill then gentrifies after Talbott gets involved there with the same crusade as in this kidnapping. When Henry tries to get records to see if this girl remembered anything, he finds the records are sealed but one person he knows can see them - Amanda, his old girlfriend, who is a child advocacy lawyer working for a legal aid clinic. He broke up with her to protect her after she was almost killed because of another story he investigated. They haven't talked in 6 months.
Henry calls her and reluctantly she meets him, but when he tells her the story, she agrees to help him because she also cares about what happened to the kids. When he gets the records from her about the missing girl, he discovers she was a violin prodigy who was closest to her violin teacher, who agrees to see him. She tells him that when the girl returned, it was obvious to her that whoever had her and allowed he to continue her violin studies and she had learned Beethoven, which she had never taught her. The teacher was amazed, and again, the police only did minimal questioning. The story is getting stranger and Henry wanst to investigate more, but then Talbott comes into his editor's office and says he knows about the records, and threatens to get everyone in trouble if they keep going on investigating. This time his editor got upset and told Henry to keep going because there was obviously a story there.
Through his and Amanda's investigation, he discovers that both children had the same pediatrician, both were born in the same hospital and both were born in the same town as the Senator. They talk to the doctor who claims not to remember the children, so they follow him after he gets off work, but they don't know that he tipped off someone else about them. They follow him to a gated house. He drives in and leaves the gate open. They follow to talk to him and Henry gets knocked out. When he awakens he's tied up and hanging from a ceiling. He's then questioned and tortured by a man, but then he gets his fingers free, and escapes after knocking the guy out. He finds Amanda in a room filled with children's toys, grabs a receipt for them and they run out, only to find the Dr. dead on the driveway. They run and get a woman to give them a ride to the police station and they tell the police about the dead doctor, when they go back to show them, they find the house burning down and the doctor's body missing.
Next they check out the receipt and discover that the toys were all recently bought. Henry is convinced there is another child missing, enlists the aid of a cop friend, and sure enough, another one gets reported. They find out that the new missing kid as born at the same hospital, and had the same doctor as the other two. His police friend then finds that the newly kidnapped child is a diabetic, as are the other two children. He also finds that under some circumstances, diabetic kids can deprived of certain vitamins can suffer from total memory loss. As the pieces fall into place, Henry and Amanda push to find the people who lived in the burned down house who they are sure have another child, and try to avoid the cigarette man as well. As the story climaxes, they find the family, get the cigarette man arrested, and discover that the Senator was involved in all of the kidnappings.
Best part of story, including ending:
Though I suspected the Senator had something to do with it, until the end, you're never really sure how much the families are involved, and if they are, why.
Best scene in story:
My favorite scene was when Amanda first met Henry because you knew both of them wanted to get back together but she was being hard on him and it was just great the way she did it,
Opinion about the main character:
I like how despite how much he wants to write for the paper, he's willing to go against his editor to get the story under the story.