Book #35

Flash Drive by Peter C. Foster


Every Sunday afternoon for almost a year she strolls into the parking lot where you work and drives away in a car share. Every Sunday evening she brings it back. Until one day, when the car comes back, but she doesn’t. A stranger wearing cargo pants and an attitude shows up in her place. After he leaves, you find her bag and all her possessions in the trunk. You realize that wherever she is, she has nothing but the clothes on her back.

What do you do? You don’t know her well, but you know she disappeared. You’re afraid she’s been harmed, but no-one believes you. You think you know who’s responsible, but then that guy turns up dead. And when the cops open an investigation, you are their prime suspect in the murder.

Erstwhile taxi driver Alex Ryan is the guy in the parking lot. Sexy bank executive Chantal Dorval is the mystery woman. Who kidnapped her? Is she alive or dead? Who killed Cargo Pants? And why? Ryan sets out to answer these questions, to find Chantal and exonerate himself. But the more he learns about her life, the more disturbing secrets he discovers, and the more suspects he turns up. And the more the police are convinced he’s guilty.

As a notorious people watcher and general nosey cow, this was one frightening situation I could really see myself becoming involved with. Alex works at a taxi firm, and every Sunday sees a beautiful woman pick up a car share, and he tends to wait in anticipation of seeing her return later that night. One night she doesn’t return, and we’re whisked along a road of mysteries, complexities, and at times utter carnage, by Foster.

I was completely swept up by this. Foster constantly throws information, leaving us to make sense of things as he suggests sparse links or drops red herrings. The mystery is intricate and messy, and although it feels it may never be solved, Alex’s brutal determination has us chasing people and leads with the same hellbent frustration.

Foster’s characters were gorgeous; mostly all flawed in their own ways, many cognisant of this and attempting reparations. Although no one was entirely likable, everyone’s motivations and histories were made clear, allowing us to understand them better.

Although difficult to review without giving away any of the plot points - and there are a lot of them - this is a wonderful thriller which grabs hold of you without letting go. I’m keen to seek out some more of Foster’s work as I had a great time with this one.