The Vanishing Point by Val McDermid

Stephanie knows that the steel pin in her leg will set off the security alarms at the airport when she enters the USA. She also knows that she will not be able to keep five year old Jimmy with her as she undergoes additional scans. But, in a case of security gone insane, she is forced to watch as Jimmy is taken away by a stranger, and when she tries to alert authorities, she is tasered. By the time she is able to tell someone about the kidnapping, Jimmy is long gone.

Most of the rest of the novel consists of Stephanie telling FBI agent Vivian McKuras about Jimmy’s and her own history, and Detective Sergeant Nick Nicolaides in the UK chasing leads.

For a five year old, Jimmy certainly has a complex history. Stephanie is his foster mother, in the process of adopting him. Both his parents are dead. Jimmy’s father – Joshu is from a traditional Pakistani Hindu family who have disowned him for his fast life of drugs and women. Jimmy’s mother – Scarlett, was a reality TV star, who while projecting a dumb bimbo image, had the brains to set up a full career on TV. Scarlett left behind her hopeless family in Leeds, except for her cousin Leanne who she hired as a body double.

Stephanie became friends with Scarlett while working as her ghost writer on her autobiography. She was there through most of Scarlett’s pregnancy, during Jimmy’s birth and right through to Scarlett’s death. Stephanie has had her own difficulties with an abusive boyfriend who became a stalker when she tried to leave him.

So, there are certainly plenty of suspects for the kidnapping. But when the offender is finally revealed, it comes as a complete surprise!

 

This book was absolutely riveting. Val McDermid’s writing always captures me. I found some of the story a bit fanciful, but then I normally keep my distance from reality TV. I’ve heard that anything’s possible.

The main characters were well developed, leaving me wondering how Stephanie would have coped with the aftermath of the final scene – which seemed a bit out of character!

 

Book Published 2012

 

 

See a full list of books by Val McDermid

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