Looking for Mr Big, by Maggie Hudson

Deena is a barrister whose son doesn't turn up for college after his summer vacation. Certain that something serious is wrong, but unable to convince the authorities, she attempts to track him down herself. Then she finds out that the "friend" he was going on holiday with is a woman: not only that, the woman is the daughter of Al Virtue, a notorious gangland criminal who faced Deena in court and received a prison sentence over ten years ago. He's also on the trail of his daughter, and the two have to decide whether to trust or suspect each other as their paths cross.

This was a reasonably competent story, but some of the plot details were a bit hard to swallow. Deena's son and Al's daughter getting together seems quite unlikely but excusable as the way to get the story going, but there was also Deena's boyfriend (literally) bumping into Al's girlfriend one evening and starting up a relationship before either knew who the other was. As well as that, Deena's son turned out to have started dabbling in drugs, which he'd bought from Al's nephews (unknown to Al), and it subsequently turned out that Deena's "ex" was the head of the largest illegal drugs cartel in Columbia.

There were places where I think the book seemed to have lacked an editor's attention. E.g. the model is at one stage described as being "as feline as a cat". and someone else, when being interrogated by Al "didn't merely blanch - he went white".

The cover of this audiobook had a picture of a formally dressed black woman sitting behind a desk, and I assumed this must be the main character and for a while expected that a theme of the story would be how a poor black girl had fought adversity to become a leading barrister. But Deena wasn't black - the only black girl in the book was Al's girlfriend, who was a model and so didn't spend any of the story behind a desk so far as I can remember. So I'm not sure what the cover picture was about. And that did make the story feel a little odd to start with because it didn't unfold in anything like the way the cover picture led me to expect (shouldn't judge a book etc., but it does make a difference).

And what happens at the end, to Deena and Al, after they pool resources and travel to Columbia to confront the drugs lord and retrieve their children? What do you think.

Readable, but not very inspiring. Might do another by this author but wouldn't rush out to buy the back catalogue.

Completed : 03-Feb-2012 (audiobook)

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