Big thanks to NetGalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review.
Still finding my way around NetGalley.com, this was one of my first approved requests and boy, did I hit the jackpot. Matthew FitzSimmons first novel The Short Drop is a spellbinding and immersive thriller, rich with political intrigue and complex familial mystery.
The story opens in an all-American diner. Ex-marine Gibson Vaughn occupies a booth while searching online for a way to support an ex-wife and six year old daughter. A television newsbreak recaps the disappearance of Suzanne Lombard, Gibson’s childhood playmate and daughter of family friend, senator Benjamin Lombard. The abduction occurred almost ten years earlier, after Gibson’s infamous computer hacking stunt that exposed dodgy dealings within Lombard’s cartel. But all was not as it seemed and Vaughn’s own father ended his life after becoming implicated in the scandal.
Now, with a bad reputation keeping him jobless, he’s desperate for honest work when approached by someone from his past. A friend of his father and an insider in the political sphere, George Abe seeks Gibson’s computer skills to help track Suzanne’s abductor who, after almost a decade, has sent through evidence of involvement in the case.
The pull of sentimentality yanks Gibson into the covert investigation. Abe Consulting uncovers a long and intricate back-story before landing on the horrifying truth of what happened to Suzanne Lombard all those years ago.
FitzSimmons is not a word-waster. Tightly written and action packed, The Short Drop is accessible without being patronising. Time is a major theme and he uses it to explore the texture of grief and the complexities of human relationships. Conventional narrative works to keep a fast pace while the depth of the characters allows the reader to form alliances and race with them toward a tidy resolution.
Matthew FitzSimmons has produced a fantastic piece of crime fiction. It’s marked as the first in a series and even though it’s unclear how much more of this story could be teased out, I wouldn’t be sorry to see more of Gibson Vaughn.
Note: If this is typical NetGalley standard, I may never visit bookdepository again. *
*This is a total lie.