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Remembering Sarah    by Chris Mooney order for
Remembering Sarah
by Chris Mooney
Order:  USA  Can
Pocket, 2005 (2004)
Hardcover, Paperback
* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Mike Sullivan dotes on his six year old daughter Sarah and is determined that she become a tough and independent young woman by allowing her to experience life - and childhood. His wife Jess on the other hand, is overly protective and constantly denies Sarah the chance to 'just be a kid'. Jess's oft unreasonable reactions have put a serious strain on their marriage. After another unpleasant confrontation where Jess undermines Mike's promise to take Sarah sledding, he rebels and takes her out anyway. A short time later Mike faces any parents' worst nightmare - a few moments of inattention and Sarah has gone missing.

Five years pass with Sarah still missing. The only suspect, former priest Francis Jonah, is dying of pancreatic cancer. The police, the media and most especially Mike, are sure Jonah knows what happened; he'd already been kicked out of the church after allegations that he molested other young girls. However, the police had never been able to prove it or find adequate evidence to link him to any of the crimes - until the anniversary of Sarah's disappearance when the pink parka she'd been wearing is discovered. When a search of the priest's house unearths more evidence linking Jonah to Sarah and the other girls, the police know they finally have their man. Even so, Jonah maintains his innocence. And Mike begins questioning how and why the missing pieces surrounding his daughter's disappearance have suddenly dropped too neatly into place. When the police won't listen to his misgivings, he begins investigating on his own and ultimately unearths not only the truth surrounding Sarah's abduction, but also dark secrets from his own family history.

Chris Mooney is not only a great stylist, he also brings real emotional depth to his characters, particularly Mike. Much of the story is told through his point of view and it's from these profound introspections that we learn how Sarah's disappearance has destroyed Mike. He's been unable to work through his guilt, yet in his heart he's convinced that she's still out there somewhere, alive and waiting for him to find her. Mike's single-minded faith and determination is what makes this story so riveting. Remembering Sarah is one of those rare books that you won't be able to put down once you begin reading. It's a mesmerizing thriller filled with very real characters caught up in a provocative plot, one that the author meticulously unravels and that leads to unexpected revelations. Mooney is the author of two previous thrillers: Deviant Ways and World Without End, both of which I've added to my must read list. Once you turn the last page of Remembering Sarah, I'm certain you'll do the same.

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