Friday, November 16

Panic - Jeff Abbott

Evan Casher's life is pretty close to perfect - his career as a documentary film maker's taking off and he's waking from a passionate night with the girl he told only last night that he loved. Carrie's gone when he wakes, but there's a note saying she'll be back. More urgent, though, is the call that woke him - it's his usually calm photographer mother (computer consultant dad's in Australia for work), insistent that he drive the two-and-a-half hour trip from Houston to Austin but unwilling to explain anything except that he has to leave. Now.
Evan takes a few moments to gather some things for the trip, leaves Carrie a note, and spends the next three hours hoping for a call from his girlfriend, returning his love, or his mother, explaining what the big mystery is. After a brief detour to buy some of his mother's favourite peach pastries, Evan arrives at his childhood home, only to discover the murdered body of his mother. Before he has time to process the shock, he's assaulted himself, and falls unconscious. Nothing in his life is what he thought it was.
Nothing's very interesting, either. Evan lurches reactively from one crisis to another, but fails to develop in any significant way. His girlfriend is really a plant, but is so two-dimensional I really didn't care. In fact, the hackneyed plot and lack of narrative evolution (one tense scene after another, with no real progress toward resolution) had me, for the second time in as many months, leave the book half way through a chapter. At least I made it halfway through the book this time. - Alex

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