"The Vanishing Point" opens with the kidnapping of a child from busy Chicago O'Hare Airport.
In a dreaded scene that parents traveling with youngsters can relate to, the adult accompanying five-year-old Jimmy Higgins, Stephanie Harker, has a number of pins in her leg from an accident. She knows she'll set off alarms with airport security.
She informs Jimmy that he'll have to go through a different line but that he should wait at the end of that line. Then she sees Jimmy going off with a security agent. When he yells that someone is taking her kid, it seems like an act and she isn't listened to. Finally, she gets an FBI agent to listen. They see footage of the boy walking away with a man dressed in a TSA uniform.
We learn that Stephanie is a ghost writer and had done work with a reality TV star named Scarlett. We also learn how Stephanie came to have Jimmy after Scarlett was diagnosed with lung cancer.
The author creates suspense with a story and characters who are so real, it is easy for the reader to place themselves in the character's position. I felt for Stephanie and breathlessly followed her path as she explains to the FBI and tries to find what happened to Jimmy.
The unique quality of McDermid's writing is that she creates a superior thriller with excellent dialogue and memorable characters.
The conclusion of the story brings everything together nicely. There is a surprise that makes this story even more entertaining. Readers will want to discuss the conclusion and relive the excitement they had with this book.