I jumped into this series at the ninth book. I have not read any of the previous books in the series, nor have I read anything else the author has written. This could be read as a standalone, but I think it would be better to read the series in order. As a first time reader of this one, I was a bit regretful that I’d not read the previous books to give some kind of context for the way Jane acts the way she does. She’s a guide, helping people disappear (said people are called ‘runners’).
We open with Jane driving to her original family home from the home she shares with her surgeon husband, and it seems every piece of road she travels is explained to us. If you’re a regular reader of my reviews, you’ll know that a pet peeve of mine is overly detailed descriptions of where the characters are traveling, what roads they’re taking, if they turn off any side roads, and so forth. There is a TON of this in this book. Once Jane gets what she needs, she heads home.
Jane travels again to what is basically her safe house and finds a young woman there. She’d slept with someone other than her boyfriend Albert. Albert drags her along and shoots the man dead in front of her. Albert is arrested and Sara is advised to testify against him. Inexplicably, Albert beats the charge and starts his pursuit of Sara. When his efforts to find and kill her are fruitless, he turns to a friend of his for some suggestions about how to go about catching her. Said friend introduces him to the Russian mafia – and they want Albert to join them in hunting – not Sara, however. They want Jane. If they happen to find Sara, he can do what he wants with he, but the primary mission is to find and kidnap Jane so she can be sold o the highest bidder.
It’s at this point the story really gets moving: a cat and mouse game between Jane (trying to find a place where Sara (now Anne) can call home) and the Russians (local crews trying to track them down). Eventually, we wind up with Jane on the most dangerous portion of the Appalachian Trail.
Issue: Jane, it is said, has conducted over a hundred escapes. Yet it didn’t occur to her that maybe the bad guys keep catching up because of a GPS tracking device, a lojack tied to the battery, or Onstar? Her plan also has a hole in it that I won’t detail here, and on the Trail, it takes her quite a bit of time to start playing offense versus defense.
Eventually, we wind up back at Jane’s safe house, where we get to see a very inventive solution to an almost impossible problem.
Issue: the writing. Repetitive, often stilted, and a lot of short, declarative sentences: Jane went to Target. Jane bought x, y, and z. Jane spread out he poncho. Jane fell asleep. Jane ate (food). Jane urinated. It really had a “See Spot run” to it.
Issue: we don’t get much about the runner in this one. We do get quite a lot about Albert.All we really know is that she went to a lot of parties the the elite A listers attended. I won’t ding the book for that, as the blurb for it suggests that the focus should all be on Jane.
Overall: three out of five stars.
Thanks to Mysterious Press an NetGalley for the reading copy.