The inventive and audacious Andrew Klavan never covers the same ground twice, and his latest psychological thriller is about as far as you can get from his previous bestsellers, True Crime and The Uncanny.
What all his books have in common is a growing assurance as you turn the first few pages that you're in good, honorable hands--that the author won't trick you shamelessly or go off on some tedious tangent. So, without losing a beat, a book that begins with a horrible plane explosion that rains down fire over a Massachusetts village can shift seamlessly into a jazz musician's hunt for his lost love and an executive hit man's search for a little girl.
When that plane crashes over the small coastal town of Hunnicut (in a scene probably better not read during or just before a flight of your own), 5-year-old Amanda Dodson--"a roundish little mixed-race girl with a quiet, thoughtful manner"--escapes from her babysitter's burning house and wanders into the woods. That's where her young mother, Carol, who works as a cocktail waitress (and does occasional sexual favors for customers), finds her after an agonizing search. With Amanda is one of the plane's passengers, apparently brought back to life by the girl's formidable healing abilities. "Now they'll come after her!" Carol Dodson cries, before fleeing with the child to New York City.
In Manhattan, she has a brief encounter with a grieving saxophone genius named Lonnie Blake. Captivated by her resemblance to his late wife, Blake tries to find Carol again, but he is not the only one hunting down Carol and Amanda. Others want to capture the little girl to exploit her amazing healing powers for profit.
In lesser hands, these ingredients might add up to nothing more than a shameless potboiler, but Klavan has powers of his own--a magic touch that humanizes even the smallest characters and makes them a part of our own world. --Dick Adler