After a very suspenseful start, The Vanishing Point by Val McDermid settles into a story about friendship.
The book opens with a heart stopping abduction. 5 year old Jimmy is snatched out from under the nose of our protagonist in the midst of airport security. When Stephanie, awash with terror for Jimmy and only part way through the screening process, tries to run after the culprit, she is tasered by security and detained for questioning, allowing the attacker to get away, with Jimmy in tow.
Years previously, Stephanie Harker, a ghost writer, was commissioned to write the story of notorious reality TV star ‘Scarlett the Harlot’, a low class starlet whose biggest claim to fame was a stint in ‘The Goldfish Bowl’, a Big Brother type reality TV show.
Stephanie thinks herself too good for the Scarlett, but is convinced by her manager to take the job, and is startled to discover that behind Scarlett the Harlot is a very intelligent woman, making the most of her celebrity to break free from an under-privileged childhood.
A friendship forms between the two women, and is recounted by Stephanie from the cold confines of an airport interrogation room while the FBI search frantically the missing boy.
The Vanishing Point is a suspenseful and heartwarming story, part action, part love story – of the friendship variety.
This is one book that will keep you guessing until the very end, and might even provoke a tear or two – it certainly did for me!
Available now: Hachette RRP$32.99