THE NIGHTMARE THIEF
The fourth Jo Beckett story has plenty of heart-racing chills, but there isn’t enough of Beckett herself, and her stand-ins — flatly described overprivileged kids — do not inspire much empathy. While it’s nice to see Beckett’s friends and colleagues working together, the main storyline about a young woman needing to confront her emotionally unavailable father does not pack a similarly effective punch.
Autumn Reiniger’s father has signed her up for a role-playing reality game, where she and her friends will act out a drug cartel crime spree fantasy. But real-life kidnappers have targeted Autumn and will use the game to get to her. Meanwhile, Jo Beckett is investigating a suspicious death. When she and her partner Gabe encounter Autumn’s group, she knows something is wrong. Taking a closer look, however, puts Jo and Gabe in harm’s way, and now they have six spoiled kids to save as well as themselves. (DUTTON, Jul., 368 pp., $25.95)