Gone The Next (Roy Ballard Series Book One) by Ben Rehder, 286 pages, September 15 2012, Genre: Mystery/Suspense. Warning: May Contain Spoilers.
Review by Leigh Holland.
Every year, about 200,000 children are abducted in America. Seventy-eight percent are abducted by the non-custodial parent. 58,000 children were abducted last year by people who were not family members. Of those, 40 percent were murdered last year. When a child goes missing, time is crucial to recovering the child safely. As a parent, I can attest that nothing in the world is more terrifying than the thought of losing your child. Jason Voorhees? No problem. Freddy Kruger? Piece of cake. Missing kid? Parents lose a tiny bit of our minds just thinking about the possibility. If you could see inside our souls at that moment, it’d look a lot like “The Scream” by Edvard Munch, a perpetual state of frozen terror.
In this first installment of the Roy Ballard series, we follow a wise-cracking insurance fraud videographer (Roy) as he sets out to prove worker’s compensation claimants aren’t injured and are defrauding the insurance companies that provide him with lucrative pay for his services. Roy is divorced. He had a daughter from that marriage named Hannah. We’ve all done the same thing at some point- turned away for a minute. But when we look back, our child is there. Roy lost Hannah in the park one day when he turned away for a minute. The nightmare still haunts him, having shaped him. One day as he does routine surveillance on a claimant, he thinks for a moment he glimpses a famous recently missing girl standing in the man’s doorway. He hesitates, he’s unsure if the child was the missing girl. He reports it to the local police who ignore it as having no real merit. Roy continues to try to work with the police as he and his newly acquired partner Mia discover more evidence. But the police don’t want to waste time or resources unless there’s enough evidence to think it’s definite. Finding no help from the cops, Roy and Mia decide to do a little surveillance and investigating of their own. A child’s life hangs in the balance. Roy is worried time is running out to find the girl.
I enjoyed Roy’s sarcastic one liners, his feelings as a defender of women and kids, and willingness to put himself at risk for others. When he does contemplate a wrong or stupid choice, he has Mia there to set him on the right path. Mia is supportive of Roy and considers him her best friend. She’s smart, good-looking, and outspoken. Roy and Mia make a good team. There was limited, appropriate cursing. I found no issues with the grammar or spelling. The plot had a couple of interesting twists. I had to keep reading to find out if they saved the little girl. Rehder does an excellent job of evoking every parent’s worst nightmare.
I really enjoyed this book. It was a page turner for me. I look forward to reading more of Roy Rehder’s series in the future. I’d recommend this to Mystery lovers who enjoy a witty, unconventional private investigator.
This book can be found at Gone The Next .
About the Author:
Edgar Award-nominated author Ben Rehder’s novels have made best-of-the-year lists in Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, and Field & Stream. Gone The Next is his ninth novel.
Ben Rehder is an Edgar, Shamus, and Barry Award finalist. His Blanco County comic mysteries have made best-of-the-year lists in Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, and Field & Stream.
To receive an alert when the next Ben Rehder novel is released, sign up for Ben’s occasional newsletter at http://www.benrehder.com.
The complete Ben Rehder bibliography includes:
The Chicken Hanger
The Driving Lesson
Gone The Next
Get Busy Dying
If I Had A Nickel
Meet Roy Ballard, freelance videographer with a knack for catching insurance cheats. He’s working a routine case, complete with hours of tedious surveillance, when he sees something that shakes him to the core. There, with the subject, is a little blond girl wearing a pink top and denim shorts—the same outfit worn by Tracy Turner, a six-year-old abducted the day before. When the police are skeptical of Ballard’s report—and with his history, who can blame them?—it’s the beginning of the most important case of his life.