Kirkus Star


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Another page-turner by the ever-reliable Duncan, this time demonstrating how preconceptions can lead to dangerously wrong conclusions. Tracy Lord, 16, is an unwilling guest in the Texas home of her aunt and uncle, and angry at her father's decision to let her live there instead of with him after her mother's untimely death. Holding herself' aloof from her classmates, she is nonetheless drawn to Brad Johnson, who introduces himself as a fellow newcomer. Tracy, a veteran of New York City, is street-smart enough to figure that all is not as it seems, and Brad soon reveals that she's right. He's on a quest to find his toddler stepsister, child-snatched by his stepfather during a custody visit. Tracy, inspired by her own anger at her father, agrees first to help Brad find Mindy and then to help him snatch her back. It is only when they are on the road to his New Mexico home that Tracy discovers the truth: that Mindy is dead and that Brad's serious emotional problems have led them into the actual kidnapping of a substitute child. The balance of the book is a desperate chase sequence as Tracy, with the help of Brad's friend Jamie, tries to save ""Mindy"" from Brad and Brad from himself. Duncan is a true pro, grounding the twists of her plotlines with sure motivation and providing the reader with several surprises along the way. Though her writing is undistinguished, it never cheats or disappoints, allowing the reader to believe even this most melodramatic of stories.

Pub Date: June 19th, 1987
ISBN: 0440201845
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Delacorte