Monday, August 3, 2009


by Laura Elvebak
L&L Dreamspell
ISBN: 9781603180405

After shooting a teenager in self-defense, homicide investigator Niki Alexander quits the force and turns to counseling at a teen shelter. Although Niki works hard to help runaway teens, she is haunted by guilt over the shooting. Abandoned by her father several months earlier, Jessica Keeling lives on the street, going by the name of Jade. When she wakes up next to a dead man, Jade panics and flees the scene, only to disappear. Jade’s friend Rube, convinced Jade isn’t running from the police but that someone has taken her, implores Niki to help him find her. Niki’s former partner, Luis Perez, searching for the young woman seen running away from the dead man, teams up with Niki to try to find Jade. Their investigation uncovers crimes of a more serious nature: the mutilated bodies of missing teen girls.

Elvebak delivers a gritty mystery focusing on the sad and traumatic lives of runaway teens. Plenty of red herrings are offered along with a suspenseful plot and realistic characters. Elvebak’s credible dialogue enhances the story, which moves at a fast pace. Visual imagery is at times graphic, although essential to this well-written thriller.

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