journalistic investigation asks all the right questions
thriller If You Were Here Alafair Burke Faber & Faber, £12.99
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When a petty thief snatches an iPhone from a distracted commuter, he doesn't expect her to take off after him. Her rescue of him from certain death under the wheels of a subway car is captured on a smartphone and the shaky video ends up in the hands of former lawyer turned investigative journalist McKenna Jordan.
To her amazement she recognises the mystery woman as Susan Hauptmann, once a close friend and the woman who introduced her to her husband, Patrick. Susan had disappeared without a trace years before, and as McKenna investigates she is shocked to find Patrick is reluctant to help and dangerous forces seem to be thwarting her every effort.
Burke is a former district attorney and now a law professor. Wish You Were Here is Burke's ninth novel, a fast-moving, suspenseful page-riffler of a book that manages to ask searching questions about relationships, private security and journalistic standards in contemporary America, all the while delivering visceral thrills.