Into the Dark
by Alison Gaylin
Review by Mel Jacob
Harper Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780061878251
Date: 29 January 2013 List Price $5.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
This is the second Brenna Spector mystery. A private investigator who specializes in searching for missing children, she is lured into investigating a missing woman's disappearance. The missing woman is a performance artist who performs behind a screen in the nude and just misses being pornographic. She calls herself Lula Bell and describes her life and childhood. Many of the things she says remind Brenna of her childhood and her missing sister Clea.
When Brenna was seven, her seventeen-year-old sister disappeared and was last seen getting into a blue car. Since that event, Brenna recalls, in all its sensory detail, everything that happens to her. In essence, she relives the experience when a memory is triggered. Unfortunately, it makes her oblivious to what happens around her.
Her former boss enlists her aid in finding the missing Lula Belle, but refuses to reveal the name of his client. At first, she refuses, but when her assistant shows one of the tapes of Lula Belle, she relents.
Her loyal assistant Trent does his best to help her. He's a computer expert, but easily distracted by a hot babe. He's also a fan of Lula Belle.
Stakes rise when her ex-boos is killed. Clues lead to a would-be director Robin Tannenbaum who has disappeared. He also borrowed money from a neighbor, a reputed ex-Russian crook. Soon a pair of goons is after Brenna for the money. Comic, but dangerous, the hoods chase and threaten Brenna and Trent. An ensuing accident puts Trent in the hospital with a concussion.
This novel explores Brenna's family relationships both past and present: the ex-husband she still loves, her daughter, Maya, and Senior Detective Nick Morasco who would like a relationship with Brenna. Gaylin plays fair with the reader, yet offers some unexpected events. The climax puts both Brenna and Maya in mortal danger.
In this mystery, Brenna learns much more about her sister's disappearance and provides clues for another mystery. Most readers will find the read satisfying and look forward to answers about Clea in the next Brenna story.