Written by Mason Cross — New York, 2010. Carol Langford receives a phone call. The line is terrible. Carter Blake, 7,000 miles away and injured, tells Carol these four fateful words: “You have to disappear.”
Under Blake’s instructions Carol heads to his apartment where she watches the news story unfold on the television. It’s the assassination of her boss, a US senator. Four days for Carol to decide what to do next. Finally, her mind made up, she writes Blake a letter, also with four words in it. “Don’t look for me.” Then she leaves and never comes back.
Six years pass and now Carter Blake is taking a holiday on the Louisiana Gold Coast after the bloody conclusion of his previous adventure. His ex-employer, Winterlong, came after Blake. In the process Blake’s friend and business partner was killed. Since then Blake, a man hunter now by trade, has been figuring out what to do with himself.
In Summerlin, Nevada, a couple move in next door to full-time author and ex-reporter Sarah Blackwell. The pair, Rebecca and Dominic Freel, don’t keep normal hours, coming and going separately and at unusual times. Sarah is intrigued. After an argument Rebecca comes around to apologise and, over a few weeks, the two become friends. However, one day the Freels just up and disappear. Sarah is worried for her friend, even more so when, in the dead of night, some men enter the empty house and search it, leaving soon after with a laptop.
In Las Vegas three men hire Trenton Gage, a former Mountie from Canada, to find Dominic Freel. He has something the men want, something valuable. Gage, a brutal killer, starts at the Freels’ house in Summerlin.
The next day, Sarah does the same and she finds a notebook which appears to have been dropped. Inside there are drawings, notes and the signatures of various women. There’s also an email address. Sarah sends a note to the address, including her phone number. It reaches Carter Blake and within an hour he’s on his way to Nevada. It looks like Blake’s past is about to catch up with him…
This is the fourth Carter Blake novel and follows on soon after the events in The Time To Kill (published in the US as Winterlong). It’s a fast-paced, page-turning, consumate thriller in which we learn much more about the mysterious Blake.
Besides the relentless action the key element of Don’t Look For Me is the characters. We experience the world through Carter Blake’s senses in the first person, but Gage and Rebecca’s stories are told third person. What’s so interesting and well done is seeing the story unfold through these three characters. Blake is secretive and keeps much from us, while ex-reporter Rebecca uses her investigative skills and we can follow her process. Side-by-side we get two views of the same scenes and two very different perspectives. And then another from the ruthless Gage, a man who at one time was on the right side of the law, until his methods crossed a line. Despite his brutal side there are shades of humanity in him, and he has a son and ex-partner he’d like to be with… if only he had the money.
Through the process of tracking down the Freels and then learning what they have that’s so valuable, Blake finally comes into contact with Carol. This leads us to another neat trick of the author’s, because Carol isn’t the person Blake knew, she’s changed dramatically. But then so has Blake. Gage too isn’t your average killer. He’s tough and selfish, but he’s more than that. Then there’s Rebecca, she’s believable too. Her past training and instincts help the narrative along.
Another gripping release from Mason Cross in what was already an excellent series.
CFL Rating: 5 Stars