Henry Pierce is about to become very rich--as soon as his firm, Amedeo Technologies, gets an infusion of capital from a big backer. But the brilliant chemist's workaholic habits are disrupted when his lover, the former intelligence officer of his company, breaks up with him. Lonely and dispirited, he moves into a new apartment and gets a new phone number that attracts a lot of callers, but not for him. His new telephone number seems to have previously belonged to one Lilly Quinlan, an escort whose Internet photo arouses Henry's curiosity, especially when L.A. Darlings, whose Web page features the beautiful young woman, can't tell Henry how to find her. With the same single-mindedness that made him a high-tech superstar, Pierce pursues his search for the missing girl, motivated by his guilt over the disappearance years earlier of his own sister, who, like Lilly, was also a prostitute (and ultimately the victim of the Dollmaker, a serial killer from Connelly's 1994 novel The Concrete Blonde
.) But that motive is too thin to support Pierce's sudden abandonment of his career at such a critical juncture, even if forces unknown to him are setting him up for a fall. Despite those holes in the plot and a less than compelling protagonist, the novel succeeds due to Connelly's literary and expository gifts and his more interesting secondary characters. --Jane Adams
From Publishers Weekly
The copy on the galley of Connelly's slick new thriller doesn't mention Hitchcock, but most reviews probably will, with the novel's many surprises and "wrong man" plot line. Even the opening echoes Hitch's North by Northwest, in which Cary Grant's mistaken interception of a bellboy's page leads to disaster; here it's nanotechnology entrepreneur Henry Pierce's getting a phone call that triggers the trouble. The call is for a prostitute, Lilly, and it's the first of many; turns out that the Web site on which she advertises, L.A. Darlings, has Pierce's new home phone number next to a photo of gorgeous Lilly. But when Pierce visits the Web site's offices, he learns that Lilly has vanished. Where has she gone? His search to find the missing woman-prompted by his insatiable curiosity and by memories of his tragic, long-ago hunt for his sister, also a prostitute-draws Pierce into mortal danger. It also pushes him into conflict with the law, for when the cops cotton to Lilly's disappearance, Pierce becomes the number one suspect-serious bad news for this scientist whose company is being visited by a major investor in just a few days. Connelly's plotting is shrink-wrap tight, his characters-particularly Pierce, whose impulsiveness is balanced by his measured applications of the scientific method to analyze his plight-are smartly drawn. It's the rare reader who will be able to finger the villain behind all the mayhem. While very entertaining, however-this is the perfect book for a long airplane ride-the novel lacks the moral resonance and weight of Connelly's most impressive works, such as City of Bones.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.