An up-and-coming attorney meets a mysterious man and begins to question the life she has built for herself in this suspenseful story.
Novelist Wurtenbaugh’s (A Prophet Without Honor, 2017, etc.) tale opens as junior legal associate Adele Jansen is staffed on a high-profile matter at the law firm where she has been making a name for herself. Her slight build and youthful appearance cause her to be underestimated, but Adele continually outpaces her male peers. Everything changes when one of the firm’s clients, a publishing company, seeks Adele’s help in communicating with a potentially uncooperative author. When Adele meets Tom Newcombe, the author in question, sparks fly. After a meeting filled with deep discussion about esoteric intellectual topics, Adele is irrevocably smitten. But she questions whether there is any room in her life and career for a relationship. As she begins to think of Tom as her true priority, she learns he has disappeared, seemingly without a trace. Worse yet, Tom’s few acquaintances that Adele locates warn her to avoid him. Adele doesn’t believe that Tom could be bad news, and thus she begins a quest to discover as much as possible about the real Tom Newcombe. When answers finally emerge, will Adele be able to accept them? By doling out mysterious drips and drabs about Newcombe’s past, the author successfully builds tension in the story that increases steadily. Wurtenbaugh also provides many interesting details about a wide array of ancillary subjects, ranging from office politics and art to computer programming and mathematical theory. Although these oft-gratuitous, extensive details become cumbersome, impeding what is otherwise a fast-paced narrative, the story is redeemed by the many vivid and engrossing scenes of Adele’s astute sleuthing. By offering readers just the right kinds of clues about Tom as the truth slowly unfurls, Wurtenbaugh delivers an absorbing tale about checkered pasts and new commitments.
An entertaining tale about perseverance that is perhaps better classified as a satisfying mystery than a romance.