Taken by the Wind
A Jane Lawless Mystery by Ellen Hart
Review: Restaurateur and part-time private investigator Jane Lawless is asked to assist in the investigation of the disappearance of two middle school-aged boys, a situation the local police detective seems to dismiss as a routine runaway, in Taken by the Wind, the 21st mystery in this series by Ellen Hart.
Jack Lindstrom and Gabriel Born are cousins and best friends and while Jack is the more impulsive of the two — he has run away before — he seems to be adjusting the the fact that his parents, Eric and Andrew, have split up. Still, it comes as a surprise when the boys disappear during an overnight campout outside Jack's home. Initially assuming that Jack has run away again, and persuaded Gabriel to accompany him, they don't get the police involved. But when 24 hours pass and they still haven't returned, they do call the police … as well as Jane Lawless, a family friend. The detective in charge doesn't appear to be overly concerned, performing a cursory examination of the home and assuring Eric and Andrew that the boys are probably safe and not to worry. Jane, who has taken the time to examine the tent they were sleeping in and the boys' rooms, isn't so sure. When a ransom note appears, their worst fears are confirmed: $100,000 for the safe return of the boys.
There is much to like in this well-paced, twist-filled non-murder mystery, with everyone (including the reader) on edge as to (a) what initially happened to the boys and (b) how will they get them back safely after the ransom note is received. The tension extends to the intra-family relationships as well, where all is most definitely not in harmony. Jane is working the case alone; her partner seems to have given up on investigating cases, but she's determined to get him involved, if not now then at least setting it up so he will want to be involved in the future. Separately, Jane's friend Cordelia Thorn has her own familial issues, which make for a somewhat comedic break from the all that is going on with the missing boys. A very strong entry in this series, one that continues to deliver with appealing recurring characters and solid mystery plotlines. Now if only Jane could find some peace and continuity in her personal life …
Acknowledgment: Minotaur Books provided a copy of Taken by the Wind for this review.
Review Copyright © 2014 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Rest for the Wicked
Minotaur Books (Hardcover), October 2012
ISBN-13: 9781250001863; ISBN-10: 1250001862
Location(s) referenced in Taken by the Wind: Minnesota
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Taken by the Wind by Ellen Hart — A Jane Lawless Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: October 2013
List Price: $25.99
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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