P.J. Parrish: She’s Not There

shes-not-thereWe all know how masterfully P.J. Parrish (actually the sisters Kristy Montee and Kelly Nichols) can create suspense. What is amazing to me—considering that my sister and I can hardly write a joint grocery list without getting all Cain and Abel—is how seamlessly all the elements of a great mystery come together in a satisfying whole in their collaboration. Their new book, She’s Not There, a departure from the Louis Kincaid series, hits the ground running, with a set-up reminiscent of the great noir thrillers of the past.

A woman wakes up in the hospital, and learns that not only does the doctor have no idea of her name. but, even more alarmingly, she doesn’t either. She has only a few disturbing memories to go on, along with the firm certainty that she is in grave danger and had better start running at once. She does so, showing great resourcefulness and intelligence, learning a little bit more about herself every step of the way.

And soon there is a tenacious pursuer after her, one Clay Buchanan, a preternaturally gifted finder of people who don’t want to be found. His method is largely based on understanding the nature of the pursued, so as the woman rediscovers her identity and history, Clay is on a parallel track, leading to several collisions. What seems to be a missing persons case triggered by an anxious, loving husband shades into something much more sinister, and Clay himself into a hard examination of his own nature, history and limits.

She’s Not There has it all: great suspense, great characters and a crackling pace, equal if not superior to any bestseller you might name. I felt a little disappointed as the book concluded when I realized, that, although this story was wrapped up, several loose ends in the characters’ lives remained loose, but this disappointment turned to gratitude when I figured out that this was the first installment of a new series which hopefully will continue for a long time. (Jamie)