I would love to tell you that I was so engrossed by the book that I ran to our hotel room and told everyone else to go have fun but I had a reading appointment I had to honor. As life and the book would have it, I enjoyed the trip and did not give the book another thought until we started home today and read until right about Tuscaloosa ( 45 minutes outside of Birmingham) when I was finished.
From the beginning of the book we know that beautiful Mia, the daughter of a Judge and Mrs. Judge (prominent family from Chicago) has been kidnapped. We know her kidnapper is working for someone else and he is supposed to deliver her to the mystery kidnap arranger after apprehending her.
For reasons we don't yet understand Colin, the kidnapper, decides to keep her rather than meeting the mystery man and releasing her to him.
We learn Mia is missing when a friend/ coworker calls her mother, Eve, to see if Mia is there. After an awkward conversation we learn she has been missing for 2 days and Eve becomes frantic trying to figure out what has happened. She calls a friend of her husband's who works on the police force and demands action even though it has not been 24 hours since they realized she was missing. Enter Gabe, the detective assigned to her case.
Gabe finds the mother willing to do anything to find her daughter, but finds her husband ( the judge) dismissive, at first, of any efforts to try and locate Mia. His reasoning it that she has disappeared before on a couple of occasions and this is probably just another self imposed exile somewhere.
The book is written as personal narratives from the perspectives of Colin, the kidnapper, Eve, the mother, and Gabe, the detective. They are written out of time in voices labeled Before and After, Before meaning before Mia is located, and After obviously after she is found.
Through Colin's voice we learn about the actual kidnapping and what was going on in Colin's mind as he hatched and carried out his plan, along with everything that transpires after he drastically alters the course of his master plan. We also hear the back story of his life and what has lead him to this really badly thought out "career path.
From Eve's viewpoint we find out all there is to know about Mia. In the Before sections we find out about their family dynamics and about Mia's babyhood through adulthood. We find she is the family black sheep intent on a career in art rather than the expected law career. A constant disappointment to her father, she leaves home for good when she turns 18 and decides she knows herself much better than her father does, so she pursues a career teaching art in an indigent school. ( If the book mentioned how an 18 year old paid her way though school while supporting herself I missed it completely, but I was reading while riding and being somewhat engaged conversationally at least off and on.)
The Eve After sections deal with the trauma facing Mia, who not only doesn't remember anything about the time she was abducted and held for months, but thinks she is named Chloe. Eve also offers some insight into Mia's father's reactions to her therapy and struggles to adjust.
Gabe also writes in the Before and After as he meets with the family and struggles with limited leads to locate Mia, and then once located to figure out exactly what happened while she was gone. Since she has almost no memory of the event he has to reconstruct things through extreme difficulty.
I am unsure how I feel about the book. I think I was supposed to be shocked and truly there was one part I did not see coming, but I had figured out the "big reveal" pretty much after the first few chapters. It is an enjoyable read and certainly not difficult. I would give it a solid 3 stars. It has a slightly above average story line, but is not a great tale. This would be an excellent beach book because the chapters are short and easy to digest, but the book loses nothing if you put it down for a bit before continuing to read.
I am a big believer in purchasing books, because money is what keeps writers providing me with new and different things to read. In this case buy the book but pass it along to a couple of friends and let them buy the next decent but not great book. ( We all have those books we read again and again, right? This is probably not one of them.)