Charlie Davis lit the day’s umpteenth cigarette as he pressed the brake on his battered Toyota Land Cruiser, slowing down to address the heavily armed men in gray uniforms.
From that explosive first sentence, OUT OF RANGE takes off in a headlong adrenaline rush right from the start. It begins in 2005, with Charlie Davis working as a journalist in Uzbekistan, a once-stable country now in the grip of a megalomaniacal leader. Charlie and his wife, Julie, want to help the people by getting the message out to the world, hoping to bring attention to the plight of the Uzbeki citizens. Young and idealistic, they want to “make a difference.” But when a rally turns violent, Charlie and Julie flee for their lives.
"It’s no wonder that OUT OF RANGE is nearly impossible to put down. Pulse-racing cliffhangers end every chapter."
Back in the US, they settle into jobs and the family routine. Six years pass and life is good, but something is missing. They have two beautiful children whom they adore, and a home in Los Angeles where Charlie continues his work as a reporter. Still, he will be the first to admit that an unease has begun to grow between him and his wife. So when Julie disappears one evening, Charlie is forced to confront the past. Naturally, the police suspect him of foul play, but when he discovers emails between Julie and her old flame from Cambridge, Byko, he believes the worst. He knows she didn’t leave voluntarily. She loves her children too much to do that. Doesn’t she?
The answer lies back in Uzbekistan. Somehow, for some reason, Julie has been kidnapped. And it’s not for ransom. Whoever has her doesn’t need or want money. No, this is about payback. Someone wants revenge, and in the worst way. An eye for an eye won’t even come close to settling the score. That person’s soul is too damaged. At this point, death would be welcomed, which means there is little hope of negotiating some kind of deal.
Fortunately, Charlie has connections that help him track Julie’s movements. It’s a good thing, too, because the police, MI6 and even the FBI seem unable or unwilling to help him. Even as he wavers between rage at her betrayal and despair at her absence, he realizes how much he loves her --- and that he isn’t without fault here, either. If he can save her, maybe they can start over. If he can’t, he’ll die trying.
It’s no wonder that OUT OF RANGE is nearly impossible to put down. Pulse-racing cliffhangers end every chapter. Author Hank Steinberg is the creator of TV’s “Without a Trace” and has a proven knack for relentless action. The identity of the bad guy here may come as no surprise. But read on; the reason behind the devilish plot spawns a new and much larger horror. Figuring out how Charlie can possibly come through okay is the tough part. It can only be accomplished by relying on his wits, a lot of luck and his love for Julie. He won’t have any time for eating or sleeping, and neither will you. Once you start this book, there will be no stopping you.
Reviewed by Kate Ayers on June 28, 2013