Book Review: The Vanishing Point by Val McDermid
The Vanishing Point by Val McDermid
The opening of this book will have you on the edge of your seat – and that’s just the start of this rollercoaster read. Stephanie Harker is going through airport security. She always sets the detectors off because of the metal in her leg from a car accident. She’s just waiting in the holding area when she sees someone leading Jimmy, her five-year-old son, away. She shouts and runs after them, but is brutally tasered by the airport security staff. By the time she recovers and they check out her story, Jimmy has disappeared.
The FBI grill her for information that will help them find out who has abducted her son. And they soon learn that Jimmy is not her son at all, but the son of a deceased UK celebrity, Scarlett Harlot. Stephanie was her ghostwriter and became a personal friend, and named Jimmy’s guardian in Scarlett’s will – but without her vast fortune that has left to a Romanian orphanage. As Stephanie talks about her complicated friendship with Scarlett and the people around her, and the lead up to Scarlett’s untimely death, various people come under suspicion. But will this help them track down the kidnapped boy?
Val McDermid is a writer who consistently delivers page-turning and thrilling reads – but I think this is her best novel yet. I was completely gripped by the characters, the different relationships were increasingly compelling, and by the novel’s end nothing much was what I had originally thought. Val is in complete control of her material and along the way she manages to explore celebrity culture in the UK, the recent phone hacking scandal, and the ruthless nature of some people in their drive to succeed. A gripping read, one that I couldn’t put down.