The Disappearance by J.F. Freedman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The daughter of a well known TV station owner is taken from her bedroom in the middle of the night while she has two other girls with her for a sleep-over. One of the girls awakens as Emma is being carried out of the bedroom, but it isn't until the next morning that everyone realizes that Emma has disappeared. A local search does not reveal Emma's whereabouts, and it isn't until days later that her body is found, dumped by a mountain stream. An arrest is eventually made, and Luke Garrison, a once very well known and respected prosecutor agrees to defend the man charged with killing Emma. After Garrison successfully prosecutes and secures a conviction in a former case that leads to the execution of an innocent man, Garrison stepped down as prosecutor and left town to live in obscurity trying to deal with his guilt over the faulty verdict. He is drawn back into the defense of a man who is a friend of Emma's family but swears he did not kill her. The accused is the anchor for the TV network owned by Emma's father.
This is a tightly crafted novel of suspense that starts off quickly and never let's up until the surprising finish. I have found all the books I've read by Freedman over the years to be written with this same level of tension, excellent character development, and twists and turns I didn't see coming. The character of Luke Garrison is especially well done; he is a man tortured by his having sent an innocent man to be executed and desperately wanting to right that wrong, if he can, with this involved, complicated, and murky defense. I did not know until the very end when it was revealed who did murder Emma, and I was very well entertained on the path to finding out who did it. I highly recommend J F Freedman's books to anyone.who enjoys reading well written plots with characters that are interesting, complicated, clever, and realistically drawn.
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