Source: Purchased copy
Publication: 1st June 2019 from Thomas and Mercer
Private investigator Jessica Shaw is used to getting anonymous tips. But after receiving a photo of a three-year-old kidnapped from Los Angeles twenty-five years ago, Jessica is stunned to recognize the little girl as herself.
Eager for answers, Jessica heads to LA’s dark underbelly. When she learns that her biological mother was killed the night she was abducted, Jessica’s determined to solve a case the police have forgotten. Meanwhile, veteran LAPD detective Jason Pryce is in the midst of a gruesome investigation into a murdered college student moonlighting as a prostitute. A chance encounter leads to them crossing paths, but Jessica soon realizes that Pryce is hiding something about her father’s checkered history and her mother’s death.
To solve her mother’s murder and her own disappearance, Jessica must dig into the past and find the secrets buried there. But the air gets thinner as she crawls closer to the truth, and it’s getting harder and harder to breathe.
Detective Jason Pryce is investigating the death of a young college student, Amy, who was left viciously beaten and stabbed in a seedy motel. P.I. Jessica Shaw receives a photo of a three-year-old girl, kidnapped from Los Angeles twenty-five years ago. This is one missing persons case she has to take on. Because the photo that Jessica receives is of herself.
That’s the start of Lisa Gray’s Thin Air, a cracking thriller that held my attention from the striking opening prologue through to the nail biting ending. Fast paced, taut and action-packed, Gray has given us a protagonist we can root for; one who isn’t willing to compromise and who will seek out the truth however much it hurts.
Jessica is drifting, literally drifting as she uses her to travel across America looking for work as she tries to keep her mind off the death of her father, Tony. Rootless, she scours the missing person’s pages, looking for work.
Heading to Eagle Rock, Jessica sets out to research her background and get to the truth even as the parallel investigation into Amy’s murder is ongoing. Gray artfully mingles these past and present stories to allow the past to pitch light onto the present and to give us a layered and fascinating story that will keep our attention riveted.
Our intrepid Private Investigator is no shrinking wallflower. She is prepared to do what she has to to get to the truth. But there are those for whom the truth is an unwelcome visitor and who would be happy to leave it buried for ever. To these people, Jessica poses an unwelcome threat and she will need to be on her guard as she finds out who is friend and who foe. With well-drawn characters and an atmospheric sense of place, Thin Air is a cracking read .
Verdict: A fascinating and captivating debut from an assured writer with enough twists and turns to keep me guessing. And a protagonist I know I want to hear more of.
Lisa Gray has been writing professionally for years, serving as the chief Scottish soccer writer at the Press Association and the books editor at the Daily Record Saturday Magazine. Lisa currently works as a journalist for the Daily Record and Sunday Mail. This is her first crime novel. Learn more at www.lisagraywriter.com