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BLIND PURSUIT by Matthew F. Jones

BLIND PURSUIT

By Matthew F. Jones

Pub Date: June 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-374-11435-8
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

 Nail-bitingly suspenseful police procedural about the kidnapping of a successful businessman's daughter. Having tried his hand at literary novels with commercial touches, Jones (A Single Shot, 1996, etc.) has gone pure genre with this muscular, Elmore Leonard-esque crime tale of a terrifying abduction. When eight-year-old Jennifer disappears en route to school, her father, Edmund Follett, a real estate developer whose shopping malls threaten to gobble ever so much of the sylvan exurbs around Albany, New York, tries to control his anxiety, but he can think of too many suspects who might want to do him harm. As he examines his past for bad deeds that may have brought on the calamity, the ditsy family nanny, Hannah Dray, who has environmentalist sympathies, admits to having been bird-watching when she should have seen Jennifer safely on to the school bus. Hannah despises Follett's neurotic, pill-popping wife, Caroline, and then there are the landowners and business associates who might benefit if Follett's latest mall weren't built. Meanwhile, eccentric local police detectives Frank Levy and Mike Abbott try not to loathe the marginal, unreliable backwoods types--including a child poaching from the Follett fish pond--who might have seen the girl getting into a black Ford LTD. Though they have little evidence and no proof, they come to suspect the slimy, self-righteous photographer Gerald Sandoval, who had done a family portrait of the Folletts not long before. Jones provides so much detail about Sandoval that his complicity, if not outright guilt, is obvious. The novel turns on the standard western genre dilemma that Leonard grafted onto the urban thriller: How do you bring down fiendishly clever creeps who will continue to practice their abominations until they're stopped? Nothing much that's original and certainly no surprises; just relentless, lean-and-mean page-turner plotting and a grimly satisfying ending.