Take one missing, possibly abducted child, one deceased research physicist, one missing Chinese national, one top secret, government-sponsored research project, and one secret possibly black ops force and find the common denominator. All are key components in Measure of Darkness by Chris Jordan.
Measure of Darkness is a suspense thriller centering on the missing, possibly abducted child of the now-deceased research physicist. Dr. Joseph Keener hired renowned child finder Randall Shane to locate his missing son, Joey. The only problem is Shane is wanted for the murder of Dr. Keener. Shane turns to a local private firm to assist him in the search for the missing child. It looks like a routine case until some unknown black ops type force enters the firm's Back Bay headquarters and abducts Shane. The head of this firm is Naomi Nantz, a skillful investigator and coordinator. Ms. Nantz is assisted by Alice Crane - the secretary, Mrs. Beasley - the chef (cook is too plebeian a term for her gastronomic delights), Teddy Boyle - resident computer guy, and Jack Delancey - chief investigator and former FBI agent.
As the team attempts to prove that Shane is innocent and find Joey, they reveal layer after layer of intrigue. Dr. Keener's co-workers and students apparently were not aware that he had a child. There is no record of the child and it appears that his mother is a Chinese national that is also missing. Not a problem, except that Dr. Keener's research company was working on a top-secret, government-sponsored research project. Is it possible that Dr. Keener was killed by a foreign government? Was Joey kidnaped to help keep Dr. Keener in line? Just when the team thinks they have a grasp on the situation more dead bodies appear. If dead bodies aren't bad enough, there are apparent ties to a federal case from Jack's past. There are too many things occurring for these to be coincidental.
Measure of Darkness provides a great premise as a suspense thriller. There are numerous twists and turns in the plot to keep the reader involved, but parts of the plot seem mired in the secretive black ops/government conspiracy theme. Although this theme may seem farfetched, it works. Naomi Nantz seems to be a combination of Hercule Poirot sans the mustache and accent and Columbo sans the wrinkled trench coat. Although she isn't a field-agent per se, she does quite well at being able to step back and see the big picture. The narrative is told from the point of view of Alice, and I think that this helps to keep the story grounded as Alice isn't wealthy or a genius but simply a hard-working, intelligent young woman that has survived hardships. If you're in the market for a fast-paced suspense thriller that is also a quick read, then Measure of Darkness may be just the book for you.
Disclaimer: I received this book free for review purposes from the publisher through NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."