you have a son or daughter, then you are going to race through Mark
Gimenez’s THE ABDUCTION as if his or her life
depended upon it. We’ve all been there. You’re at a
busy public gathering, you turn your head for a second, and ---
poof! --- your child, the center of your universe, has disappeared.
A hole opens up in your stomach and every bit of you pours right
into it. You start calling, and in a few seconds (which at the time
feels like hours), you see them, smiling and oblivious to the fact
that you were on the edge of a heart attack.
In THE ABDUCTION, such a thing happens to John Brice, a Bill Gates
clone who is on the verge of taking his software company public in
a move that will make him insanely wealthy. Gracie, his 10-year-old
daughter, is a soccer prodigy, an absolute marvel on the field, and
is spark-plugging her team along the way to another title. John,
meanwhile, is attempting to divide his time between watching Gracie
and closing the deal over the phone. Of the two items competing for
his attention, guess which gets the bigger part? It’s not the
one running up and down the field who, we quickly learn, adores her
By the time John’s business dealings have wrapped up, he at
once will be rich and in the middle of a nightmare beyond his
imagination. And Gracie’s mom? Elizabeth Brice, referred to
as “attorney at large” by John, isn’t even there.
She’s busy with a highly successful legal practice, and by
the time she reaches the field, it’s game over --- not only
for the soccer match, but also for Gracie. The young girl is gone,
abducted by persons unknown, with the odds of finding her alive
rapidly dwindling with each hour that passes by. A suspect is
apprehended fairly quickly but denies any knowledge of the
kidnapping. Which isn’t enough to save him. Or Gracie.
Despite her hapless parents, Gracie does have an ace in the hole:
Ben Brice, estranged father of John, Vietnam War hero, alcoholic,
and grandfather of Gracie. Ben has been living quietly in
isolation, building custom furniture by day and drinking himself
into oblivion by night. A stand-up guy who self-medicates against
what he experienced in Vietnam, Ben is Gracie’s only hope.
Engaging in an uneasy truce with his son, Ben relies on his combat
sense, a near-lifetime of good and brave acts paid forward, and a
partly instinctive, partly psychic link with Gracie to travel
halfway across the country to find his granddaughter and bring her
back after she is unofficially given up for dead.
THE ABDUCTION is much more than a scaled-down version of
Commando, however. While stuffed to its considerable brim in
action, it is as much about relationships as strategy. Gimenez
skillfully weaves the interactions between John and Elizabeth
through the narrative while creating a tantalizing mystery --- the
“why” of Gracie’s abduction --- that will keep
you guessing until almost the very end. There are secrets and
excitement and just about everything you would ever want from a
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 11, 2011