"The Gingerbread Man" by Maggie Shayne is a first-class romantic suspense novel that kept me completely captivated from start to finish. With a thrilling plot full of twists and turns and vivid and sympathetic characters, "The Gingerbread Man" is a book you don't want to miss.
Syracuse Detective Vince O'Mally made a promise he knew was a mistake. When the mother of two missing children made her umpteenth appearance in his office, Vince promised her he would find her son and daughter and bring them home. So when Vince and his partner follow up a tip on a bad smell coming from a run-down house, Vince is shattered when he finds the savaged bodies of little Bobby and Kara Prague. The only clue is a children's book hidden under the floorboards, "The Gingerbread Man", borrowed nearly twenty years ago from a library in a small town called Dilmun in upstate New York.
Vince is haunted by this case day and night, and when the FBI takes the case from the local police, Vince is furious. Concerned with Vince's run-down appearance and obsessive behaviour, the Syracuse Chief of Police orders Vince to either take a month long vacation or see the police psychiatrist for an hour a day until the shrink deems Vince okay. Unable to let this go, Vince takes the forced vacation, traveling to Dilmun to follow up on his only clue.
The small town of Dilmun, located on Cayuga Lake is a close-knit and quiet community. Upon his arrival Vince meets the beautiful and troubled Holly Newman, whose own sister was abducted and murdered twenty years ago while carrying the book "The Gingerbread Man", the very same book found in the house with Bobby and Kara Prague. But the thing is, the man who killed Holly's sister confessed and is currently sitting in prison for the crime. Seems open and shut, right? Vince doesn't think so. In fact, Vince is convinced that the man who killed Holly's sister is the same man who killed Bobby and Kara Prague, and he thinks that person lives right there in Dilmun.
Vince knows that Holly is the key to solving this case, and that the answers he so desperately needs are locked somewhere in her mind. Vince spends more and more time with Holly as he tries to help her uncover the memories she has suppressed for all these years. And though he has told himself over and over that the seemingly fragile and needy Holly isn't any good for him, Vince falls completely and hopelessly in love.
In addition to the two fantastic main characters, "The Gingerbread Man" is filled with intriguing supporting characters too, such as retired and reclusive movie star Reginald D'Voe and his troubled niece Amanda. And when a young girl is kidnapped at Reggie D'Voe's annual Halloween party, Holly finds herself re-living her worst nightmare. But amidst the horror and the fear, Holly finds a core of inner strength she never knew existed, and she and Vince race to find the girl before it's too late.
"The Gingerbread Man" is a fabulous read and I found it extremely hard to put down. Shayne expertly kept me guessing through the whole book - the murderer was a complete mystery to me until the very end! Filled with brilliantly rendered images of raging storms and mysterious autumn nights, this book will provide all the thrills and chills you could ask for. The romance between Holly and Vince is beautifully depicted, and is filled with true to life passion and tenderness. "The Gingerbread Man" is a truly fine example of romantic suspense writing, so buy it today. You won't be disappointed!