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DANCING IN THE DARK by Mary Jane Clark


by Mary Jane Clark

Pub Date: July 12th, 2005
ISBN: 0-312-32315-8
Publisher: St. Martin's

Diane Mayfield, the latest in a long line of KEY News correspondents (Hide Yourself Away, 2004, etc.) whose idea of sleuthing is imperiling her family, checks out a series of PG-rated kidnappings at the Jersey shore.

Leslie Patterson is a neurotic young woman known for anorexia and self-mutilation. As a result, when she’s found bound and gagged on the grounds of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association three days after disappearing, the police and citizens of Neptune Township think she’s faked her own abduction as a cry for attention. Shawn Ostrander, the social-work student and bartender who’d dumped her, is especially unresponsive to her story of an abductor who kissed and fondled her and made her dance blindfolded. But when Shawn’s new girlfriend Carly Neath is kidnapped under similar circumstances and found dead, the locals’ impatience turns to fear. Diane, forced to sacrifice her vacation with her kids to cover the story of the girl who cried wolf, instead finds herself covering the story of the girl nobody believed until it was too late. The obligatory scary suspects include a shell-shocked Gulf War vet, a vacationer suffering the seven-year itch and a grieving widower who considers Leslie’s shrink responsible for his wife’s and daughter’s deaths.

Though the characters consist mainly of fashionable (or pointedly unfashionable) attitudes toward homosexuality, corporate crime and eating disorders, Clark pulls off a nice surprise at the close.