The Nightmare Thief by Meg Gardiner is the 4th book in the “Jo Beckett” thriller series. Publisher: Dutton, July 2011
Autumn Reiniger expects something special for her twenty-first birthday. Daddy’s already bought her the sports car, the apartment, and admission to the private college where she parties away her weekends. Now she wants excitement, and she’s going to get it.
Her father signs up Autumn and five friends for an “ultimate urban reality” game: a simulated drug deal, manhunt, and jailbreak. It’s a high-priced version of cops and robbers, played with fake guns and fast cars on the streets of San Francisco. Edge Adventures alerts the SFPD ahead of time that a “crime simulation” is underway, so the authorities can ignore the squealing tires and desperate cries for help.
Which is convenient for the gang of real kidnappers zeroing in on their target and a mammoth payday. Because what Daddy doesn’t know is that someone has spotted his hedge fund’s bulging profits, and the path to those riches runs right through Daddy’s Little Girl.
Working on a case nearby is forensic psychiatrist Jo Beckett and her partner Gabe Quintana. When the pair encounters a suspicious group of men carting six sullen college kids to the woods for a supposed wilderness adventure, alarm bells ring. Jo takes a closer look, and winds up with an invite to Autumn Reiniger’s twenty-first birthday party—a party they may never leave.
This was a simple case of finding out how Phelps Wylie died. A chance run-in and in an instant Jo and Gabe are fighting for their survival as well as the kidnapped victims. This fast-moving, action-packed drama led us on a chase through the mountains in the Sierras. Who would survive? Who would triumph? Both Gabe and Jo skills were put to the forefront as they made their escape thwarting the efforts of their captors. Meanwhile, Evan Delaney and Amy Tang are doing their part by connecting the dots in their search for Jo and Gabe. This was an adrenaline-pumping, heart-pounding, thrill-a-minute ride that had me quickly turning the pages as I could not put this book down. This was the best book ever in this captivating and suspense-filled series.