Don’t Lose Her, by Jonathon King. Open Road. 262 pages. Trade paperback $14.99.
Mr. King’s Max Freeman Mystery series is one of my favorites. A well-developed lead character, fascinating plot ideas, authoritative details on police work and the court system, and an authentic representation of two Floridas: the Palm Beach area and the Everglades. Max’s seventh outing met my high expectations, along the way providing deep insights into stressed characters dealing with critical situations.
Diane Manchester, forty-three, is a U. S. district judge is in charge of the extradition hearing of a big time criminal, a Colombian drug lord named Juan Manuel Escalante. As a weary Diane, eight months pregnant, announces a break for lunch, Escalante speaks out to her. His seemingly sarcastic concern for her condition could easily be taken as a threat.
Soon after she leaves the courthouse, Diane is abducted.
Judge Manchester is he wife of Billy Manchester, super-lawyer and highly successful financial guru. Billy’s go-to guy for investigations is Max Freeman, who is also Billy’s best friend. Billy’s clout allows him access to all kinds of information sources, and he quickly takes advantage of his connections to begin the hunt for Diane’s captors and to seek out their possible motives. The usual motive, a fat ransom, does not seem to be in play.
Mr. King builds his narrative through several points of view. Max’s viewpoint is paramount; readers will gratefully follow him as he follows and interprets the accumulating clues.
Many chapters explore the thoughts and emotions of Diane as she processes her situation and worries about the outcome of her pregnancy. She is treated rather roughly by those who have taken her. Her hands are bound behind her, and her head is covered so that she cannot see. Her breathing is somewhat restricted.
For a long time, no one speaks to her. The space in which is confined is a place of silence. Diane forces herself to be alert to motion, to environment, to the needs of her unborn child. She works hard to stay as calm as possible. A woman who is used to controlling her destiny, she strives to balance realism and hope in a situation she cannot understand.
The author is in full command of this character, electrifying readers who are brought so close to what Diane is going through.
The team that is holding Diane is headed by a huge Native American, a man of enormous strength and no compassion. He is known as Geronimo, and his underlings live in fear of him. . . .
To read this review in full, as it appears in the June 17, 2015 Fort Myers Florida Weekly and the June 18 Naples, Bonita Springs, Punta Gordo/Port Charlotte and Palm Beach Gardens/Jupiter editions, click here: Florida Weekly – Don’t Lose Her