Gary L. Wasson

"Missing, Presumed Alive"

(Reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer AUG 01, 2002)

"There are about one hundred and fifteen thousand attempted abductions of children annually. Family members abduct approximately three hundred and fifty thousand children annually. On top of those staggering statistics, there are about four hundred and fifty thousand children who simply run away and a lot of them disappear into the quagmire of the underworld society."

Missing, Presumed Alive

Detective Paul Hanley relocated to Chesapeake Virginia, he says, to get away from the snow. The truth is he didn't have much of a choice. Some bad decisions on his part have cost him his marriage and job, and so he's actually there to start over.

His first case is that of a murdered girl. The killer's modus operandi fits a similar one. The police chief has long been haunted by a series of murders where the victims have all had their throats slashed. When another girl is found, it just confirms his suspicions that the serial killer is back. The FBI become involved, and Paul and his partner Andy end up taking a back seat. Paul isn't so sure that the first and second murders are connected; and, the medical examiner agrees. His own experiences help him solve one of the cases, and a trip to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children helps him gain valuable clues for the other. Both cases are sad and strange, and the statistics are terrifying, especially in light of recent kidnappings.

This book works extremely well on all levels; Paul is very sure of himself, determined never to give up, never go for the easy answers even when he is pressured to. He thinks quickly on his feet, saving the day in several situations. His tenacity is admirable; in one scene he parks by the road all night, stopping every passing vehicle and asking them questions in the hopes of turning up some sort of clue. His partner, Ms. Andy Wingate is another interesting character, trying very hard to be a good cop, her bad turns of luck make her seem all the more human and likable.

The structure of this story is really quite good; the author plays with the clues and kept me guessing as to what direction we'd be going next. Interlaced with this is Hanley's own problems; he's made some bad decisions, and he's trying to heal from them. He's faced with the sometimes insurmountable task of having a family when your family is spread out between you and your ex-wife. His home problems are often a bit heart breaking, characterizing him just as much as his actions as a policeman do. It adds a great dimension to the story, as it adds a line of comparison between his own life, and his daughter's problems, and the life of the young Jane Doe he's determined to get justice for.

Wasson does a marvelous job, and I look forward to reading more from him.

  • Amazon readers rating: from 1 reviews


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About the Author:

Gary L. WassonGary L. Wasson lives with his wife in the beautiful farm country of southern Chesapeake, Virginia. When one looks out the back door they see miles of waving corn or ripe, busting soybeans. A retired Naval Officer, Gary has claimed Virginia as home since 1971.

Gary spent 24 years in the US Naval Submarine Service. He spent years exploring both oceans and many foreign countries. But he also did more than just travel. He wrote journals of his trips and jotted down facts. Every deployment was spent with pen in hand and a stack of mystery books lining his small bunk. He wrote notes on style and content. He studied character development. He outlined plot twists. And he developed several ideas. Now he has turned to his second career and his real love; he began to apply his studies in writing mystery novels.

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