Sometimes I start these blog posts without an idea in my head: but sometimes I know exactly what I’m going to write. And sometimes I think I know what I’m going to say but it turns out to be a red herring. Then again, at other times I can have a heap of disparate (or desperate!) ideas out of which something like coherence can begin to emerge; and that’s a bit like the Val McDermid book I’ve been reading. I should say ‘re-reading’ because I’ve read it before; though when you have memory problems you can re-read a novel and enjoy it just as much as the first time because you can’t remember the denouement!
So, the novel I chose to read again (largely because the library has a very limited range of McDermid novels) was ‘Vanishing Point’. A child disappears at an airport and there is no clue to who has taken him. The lead-up to this is told in flashbacks as the child’s guardian talks to the US police officer in charge of the case. Out of a series of disparate (and desperate) memories she constructs a view of what has happened. Suspicion points to the guardian’s ex-partner, an obsessive stalker, whom we are certain has taken him (except that the discerning reader notes the thick wad of pages still remaining to be read) but this turns out to be a red herring and eventually the story coheres into a solution. The protagonist is a ghost writer who has formed a bizarre friendship with one of her subjects, a reality TV star. Scarlett Higgins (I’m pretty certain there are references in both of those names) gradually comes to believe she is starring in her own soap opera and can manipulate the lives and deaths of everyone around her.
It’s a good read and an unusual take on murder, so I recommend it.