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Sunday, 13 October 2013
‘What Comes Next’ by John Katzenbach
20 May 2013.
Shortly after learning that he has an incurable, degenerative brain disease, retired psychology professor Adrian Thomas witnesses the kidnapping of a sixteen year old girl.
Suffering from hallucinations caused by his illness, Adrian is joined by his dead brother, wife and son as he works with the police to identify and locate the girl. But with no evidence except his testimony that Jennifer has been kidnapped and not just run away again, he struggles to persuade detective Terri Collins that the incident wasn't a delusion of his malady. Desperate, Adrian teams up with a local paedophile, believing that Jennifer's fate is tied in with a sordid enterprise.
As the reader learns more about what is happening to Jennifer -and why - Adrian makes slow progress; not only in his attempts to solve the crime but also, belatedly, to repair his family relationships. Even in the midst of his hallucinations he recognises, touchingly, that he is too late to help his own relatives and fixates on saving Jennifer as a kind of apology and reparation to them.
Packed with shocking twists and turns, it's not just the ending that leaves the reader breathless although the conclusion is amazingly compelling and unpredictable. The characters are skilfully constructed and every single one - from the police to the criminal, the victim to the witness - is multi-faceted and conflicted, with their motivations provocatively laid bare.
Both triumphant and tragic, exploring the nature of human relationships sensitively and making the reader question himself throughout, this book is an absolute must for psychological thriller fans.
Reviewer: Joanna Leigh
John Katzenbach has written 11 novels previously: Edgar nominee, In the Heat of the Summer (1982), adapted for the screen as “The Mean Season; First Born: The Death of Arnold Zeleznik, Age Nine (1984); New York Times bestseller, The Traveler (1987); Day of Reckoning (1989); Just Cause (1992), which was made into a movie by Warner Brothers; Edgar Nominee, The Shadow Man (1995); State of Mind (1997); Hart's War(1999); The Analyst (2002); The Madman's Tale(2004); and The Wrong Man (2006). He has been a criminal court reporter for The Miami Herald and Miami News and a feature write for the Herald’s Tropic magazine. His work has appeared in many other newspapers, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Joanna Leigh studied French and German at university. She works in the aerospace industry and is a chartered marketer in the UK. She describes herself as a voracious reader, enjoying genres as varied as crime thrillers, historical fiction and autobiographies. Joanna lives in London. She is the daughter of crime thriller writer Leigh Russell.