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On the Line: A Bill Smith/Lydia Chin Novel by S.J. Rozan
Cover Artist: Photo: Frans Lemmens / Getty Images
Review by Verna Suit
Minotaur Books Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780312609245
Date: 30 August 2011 List Price $14.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

PI Lydia Chin has been kidnapped by a psychopath. Her piano-playing, chain smoking partner Bill Smith is told that finding her will be a game and he has 12 hours to play. If he finds her he wins and she gets to live. If he doesn't, he loses and she dies. The kidnapper leaves Bill a series of obscure clues. Bill insists that he be allowed to talk to Lydia along the way and she drops him more clues. But whether Bill can interpret any of the clues correctly remains to be seen.

Secondary prizes in the psycho's scavenger hunt turn out to be the rescued lives of innocent girls the kidnapper has used in his dangerous clues. Before too long Bill is exasperated, exhausted, and running out of patience. Fortunately, he's joined in his search by a small army that includes Lydia's teenage hacker cousin Linus, Linus's Goth friend Trella, Trella's cousin Joey, Lydia's police detective friend Mary Kee, a pimp and his enforcers, and a good dog named Woof. But in the heat of the chase, all of them miss some clues that observant readers will pick up.

On the Line moves into high gear before the first page is turned. Bill's frantic search for the psycho's clues, and ultimately for Lydia, keep the pace fast and the tension high. Even so, some scenes are so downright comic you'll find yourself grinning in spite of the deadly stakes. S.J. Rozan is at the top of her game in this latest masterpiece of suspense.

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