While jogging in a park, CIA operative Erin Baker spies an ice cream man performing magic tricks for children. Something about his hands strikes a familiar chord—one that fills Erin with dread. Nineteen years ago, her sister, Claire, was stolen from a park. It took several years to find her, and she has never really recovered from the abuse and trauma of her abduction.

FBI agent Alec Donovan has been assigned the kidnapping of a 9-year-old South Baltimore boy. Already 48 hours have passed and the odds of finding him alive are quickly diminishing. Then a little girl named Chelsea disappears from a suburb in Arlington. At first, nothing seems to connect the two cases, but then Alec meets Erin, who insists she saw the kidnapper earlier in the day—and says he's the same man who took her sister all those years ago. While Erin can't divulge her employer or her resources, she vows to help Alec stop the phantom dubbed the "Magician."

Lewin's second intensely gripping and terrifying novel hits at our deepest fears about the safety of children and will have readers hooked until the last page. (Jan., 336 pp., $23.95)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith