That Pat Nolan was semi-estranged from his adult daughter, Megan, does little to soften the blow when he receives a call that she’s committed suicide and he needs to travel to Paris to formally identify and claim her body.
Upon his arrival, the Parisian Detective in charge of the case informs him the autopsy revealed his daughter was in the final stages of ovarian cancer. Despite their strained relationship, Pat is confused as to why Megan kept something so significant from him.
His confusion turns to shock, however, when he’s taken to the morgue to make the official identification; the body the Parisian police have identified as Megan is not his daughter. Having seen the suicide note found with the body, and recognizing that it was written by Megan, Pat realizes she must have staged her death.
Knowing only that his daughter must be in serious trouble, and that her cryptic suicide note was her way of reaching out to him for help, Pat acts on instinct and lies to the police, identifying the body as Megan. When two men try to kidnap him at gunpoint shortly after he begins making inquires about Megan to people she knew in Paris, Pat realizes he’s not the only one who knows she’s still alive and is looking for her. It’s also not much of a stretch to conclude the other people trying to find his daughter are the very reason she faked her death, a death that will become all too real if they find Megan before Pat does.
Juxtaposed with Pat’s search for Megan are flashback chapters which establish her story. A freelance journalist who got her start writing fluff pieces for magazines like Cosmopolitan, Megan had been transitioning into harder hitting stories. When she finds herself in Morocco in the company of a charming Saudi businessman she begins an affair with him, thinking his connections could be what she needs to get to a juicy story on terrorist cells operating in the area. Unfortunately for Megan, she’s already closer to the story than she realizes.
Author James LePore does a nice job of unfurling the two main story threads in such a way that the story of how Megan got into her predicament dovetails seamlessly with the culmination of Pat’s search for her, though I must admit that once the two converged the book wrapped up a little quicker than I would have liked. It’s not that there was anything left unresolved per se, just that I would have enjoyed a little fuller endgame.
I would also be remiss if I didn’t note that the plot does involve a few potentially controversial topics – Islam, terrorism, abortion – and depending upon your feelings about them this book may not be for you. However, if you don’t mind books that incorporate serious issues into their plot then A World I Never Made is an intense, atmospheric thriller with international flair that you should definitely consider picking up.
A World I Never Made is available from The Story Plant (ISBN: 978-0981956855).
Also be sure to check out James’ guest blog, “Back to the Basics.”