In Eldon’s debut mystery, a husband returns from his morning jog to find his wife missing, but the authorities aren’t ready to pronounce him innocent.
When distraught Jack Turner turns to the police for help finding his wife, Detective Marty Lufkin finds something devious in the man’s account; he’s determined to prove that Jack wanted his wife gone. However, Marty’s partner, Ryan Sullivan, isn’t convinced, and he spots a possible connection to another suspect. The two cops work their case from separate ends, while Jack tries to keep the police from digging into his past. The lives of the detectives are the heart of Eldon’s book. Marty, in particular, spends more time brooding than examining case details or questioning people. He becomes disillusioned with his job while coming to terms with his divorce and a cop friend’s suicide. Yet, it’s the book’s behind-the-scenes approach that makes for a great read. Sequences like a closeted gay detective who wants to come out to his partner prove more engrossing than the case itself, which often takes a backseat. The investigation unfolds slowly and only shines when various pieces start fitting together: a man fleeing a routine stop; a young boy hit by a bicyclist, etc. Sporadic passages featuring an unidentified, bloody woman in pain and her sexually explicit encounters with an unnamed man help preserve the mystery of Jack’s missing wife. Meanwhile, Jack’s ambivalent behavior, such as telling no one at work that his wife is gone, will keep readers guessing. Eldon fuels the story with pointed dialogue that rings true to its speakers, which is fortunate, since the majority of the novel consists of characters conversing. One inspired bit has Marty and Ryan on separate phone calls that, for a brief moment, sound as if the two men are speaking to one another.
Enjoyable more as an intriguing drama than a procedural page-turner.