The adage is that you should never judge a book by its cover. The cover of this book suggests some kind of major action taking place in the field, together with a quote promising "ripsnorting action" that comes from a New York Times review (that oddly cannot be found on the New York Times website). My own experience was quite the opposite. This is a sluggish, overly complicated thriller which takes a very long time to get going and then becomes immensely silly once it does.
The hero is Mark Wallace, an energy analyst working on Wall Street. His teenage son Kyle disappeared seven years ago after being abducted off the street. Mark spent many years trying to find his son and still has a close relationship with the lead detective on the case, but his marriage is creaking under the stresses. Suddenly out of nowhere, the detective receives some promising new information on the case. At the same time, Wallace is approached by a woman who offers him some highly confidential information about Saudi oil reserves and there is a terrorist attack on an oil pipeline in Finland. Can there be some connection between all of these events?
Lee Vance is a former general partner in Goldman Sachs and his financial industry background is apparent: the details about Wallace's job and contacts ring true. However he is less accomplished at crafting a thriller with momentum. The first half the book is intriguing but very slow. The best thriller writers know how to hone their writing so that it carries you forward relentlessly. Instead the book took me several days to read and I never felt the urge to pick it up again. In the second half things do speed up, but then the plot becomes overly reliant on happy coincidences, new characters and unlikely revelations. There was the potential here for a much better book but it's been over-complicated and therefore gets bogged down in the need for back stories and explanations. I never felt even a shred of suspense or cared particularly about any of the characters.