The Line Between Here and Gone by Andrea Kane is a new Forensic Instincts thriller (available June 26, 2012).
Amanda Gleason’s boyfriend, Paul Everett, was murdered—or at least that’s what the reports said. Her infant son is deathly sick and the one thing that might save him is a stem cell donation from his allegedly dead father. When a friend emails Amanda a photo of a man who looks just like the boy’s missing dad, she is overjoyed that there’s hope, though confused as to why he might have disappeared.
Enter the Forensic Instincts team, who she hires to find the truth—and hopefully her former lover. Casey Woods, the team’s leader, is a behaviorist who has worked with the FBI and NYPD. She’s also a dynamo who takes no guff, even from her FBI sometimes-boyfriend. Marc Devereaux is the former Navy SEAL who pushes legal boundaries and beats confessions out of uncooperative bad guys. Patrick Lynch, the former FBI agent, balances out Marc by being wholly committed to the rule of law, but not above exploiting contacts. Ryan McKay is the pretty-boy techno-wizard, entombed in his “lair” with servers galore. And his romantic foil, Claire Hedgleigh is an “intuitive” he likes to call “Claire-voyant.” Rounding out the team is Hero, the human-scent evidence dog who lives in the brownstone Casey calls both home and office.
This is the second book in the Forensic Instincts series, and while there are mentions of the prior case, none are integral to the current one. Fans of the TV shows Leverage and Criminal Minds will likely enjoy the concept of the team of experts who come together for the common goal of helping to find the baby’s father while bending rules when they see fit.
The ideas of a baby in peril and a team of passionate specialists on the case are sound, and there’s a good deal of suspense, but the thing that stood out for me was the resort that Paul, the baby’s father, originally had planned for a small beach community (and the developer who took over the project after Paul disappeared).
A large part of the book takes place in the Hamptons and, having lived in tourist towns for most of my life, it was nice to see the perspective of the locals rendered honestly. The challenge of achieving balance between development and preservation—whether environmental or way of life—is also well illustrated with just enough menace to advance the plot.
“Yeah, I also know my pressure. I’ve been paying these guys off for months now. I’ve only got so much cash to go around. You know who I’m dealing with. They don’t play games. And they sure as hell don’t take MasterCard. I don’t want to wind up like Paul Everett.”
“I’m afraid that’s in your hands. Being on Southampton’s Board of Trustees, I have my own pressures. It’ll take a lot of calling in favors on my part to get those permits approved, and a lot of feather-smoothing to get the necessary people to accept my company’s involvement in this venture. Turning Southampton into a mini-Manhattan is not a popular idea with the locals. I’ve got to resort to all kinds of incentives. And I never do something for nothing. You know that. You also know what I need from you. That project of yours has the potential to bring in big money. I want a major chunk of that.”
Which is essentially what living in a tourist destination always comes down to: somebody called in some favors and somebody’s palm got greased and everyone else walks around complaining about the half-empty mega resort that took the place of forty small businesses. That, and seasonal gridlock . . . and being shocked at beer prices in less scenic places.
Overall, the Forensic Instincts team is an interesting idea with some intriguing characters and most readers will root for sweet, sympathetic Amanda and baby Justin to win over everything else. (I was also rooting for the resort deal to fall through.)
Neliza Drew is a tofu-eating teacher and erratic reader with a soft spot for crime fiction. She lives in the heat and humidity of southern Florida with three cats and her adorable hubby. She listens to way too much music, writes often, and spends too much time on Twitter (@nelizadrew).
Read all posts by Neliza Drew on Criminal Element.