Young Mickey Bolitar searches for his missing father, confronts the online infatuation of his best friend and tries to find the truth surrounding a basketball drug scandal.
The story picks up shortly after the end of teen Mickey’s previous caper (Seconds Away, 2012), with his pal Spoon in the hospital, his mother in drug rehab and his dad dubiously reported dead. The mystery surrounding this last remains murky after the senior Bolitar’s exhumed coffin is revealed to contain only ashes. New, dangerous problems pop up almost immediately to challenge Mickey. His goth friend Ema asks for his help in finding her missing boyfriend; Mickey didn’t even know that she had a boyfriend, and he’s half right. Ema and Jared have only interacted online and never met. Transfer student Mickey struggles to fit in with the varsity basketball team and is blamed when star player Troy is suspended for drug use. And the elderly doomsayer known as the Bat Lady magically reappears to put Mickey back on the path to finding his father. Mickey also works hard to repair his relationship with near-girlfriend Rachel, though it helps not at all that she has recently broken up with Troy. Veteran Coben juggles all these balls with expertise, keeping events moving with lots of dialogue.
Packed with plot and studded with cliffhangers, Coben’s third Mickey Bolitar thriller grabs readers in the opening chapter and never lets go. (Mystery. 11-16)