For British ghost writer Stephanie Harker, that fleeting terror becomes an agonising reality when a uniformed man walks off with five-year-old Jimmy in the midst of a bustling airport – and security stops her from rescuing him. It’s a nightmare Stephanie can’t believe is happening.
But all is not as it seems – either in the airport, or with the seemingly normal woman and child.
Jimmy is the son of reality TV star Scarlett Higgins, who has just died of cancer and, not trusting her own family with her son, left him in the hands of her best friend.
The story leaps back and forth as Stephanie explains, during a tortuous interview with officials, how Jimmy ended up in her care.
As the drama unfolds, a transatlantic police hunt leads our heroine through several countries in her desperate search for the boy she loves and has come to think of as her own.
The Vanishing Point is renowned crime writer Val McDermid’s 26th novel, and while it may not be her best work to date, it doesn’t disappoint.
Anyone who knows the tragic story of British Big Brother star Jade Goody, who passed away in 2009 after a battle with cervical cancer, may have a feeling of déjà vu in some parts of the book.
But the slightly “borrowed” storyline doesn’t get in the way of a well-managed plot and a thought-provoking look into the life of a reality TV star.
Stephanie is a likeable and believable central character, and while the finale is a bit of a disappointment, it’ll still get you turning the pages to the end.
Well worth taking on the plane or to the beach.
The Vanishing Point
val mcdermid (Hachette, $36.99)