Finding Claire Fletcher by Lisa Regan is a creepy abduction story told from Claire’s point of view. This story begins in present time with many flashbacks to Claire’s kidnapping and the physical and psychological torment she experiences.
Detective Connor Parks is sitting in a bar after a very bad day. Claire approaches him, tries to pick him up and eventually goes to his home. He awakens the next morning to find her gone, leaving behind a paper with her name and home address. No phone number. Connor goes to the address asking for her and discovers this woman has been missing for 10 years.
Now why would Claire be able to leave her abductor and not return home? Because she was told he would kill her family if she ever spoke to the police. Over the years she was captive she was “rewarded” with privileges such as clothing, food and clean water if she cooperated.
She was kidnapped at the age of 15, chained to a bed, beaten, raped, starved and forced to watch him kill someone. A passage from the beginning:
“When he came home, he talked to me in that effeminate singsong voice. The thread of his one-sided conversation never deviated….in his mind I was “Lynn” and I was his. This was our home and we would be together forever.
When he looked at me he didn’t see a shrunken, dangerously thin girl with hatred in her eyes, literally chained in place.”
Claire would eventually be allowed out but the fear for her family, and the shame she undeservedly felt, kept her from returning to them. You also read about the aftermath of her kidnapping and what it did to her parents and siblings.
Here is a passage where her sister Brianna vents to Connor:
“That bastard took my sister and it ruined my life. It ruined everything, my whole family may well have been abducted because they were gone. Mom forgot about my senior prom because there was some lead on Claire’s case. During my high school graduation my parents spent more time looking at their watches than the ceremony because they couldn’t wait to get home in case the detective called with news about her.”
Does that sound selfish? No, I don’t think so. Real life side story here – My son’s friend was on his way home from work one evening and failed to negotiate a curve while riding his motorcycle. He crashed and died at the age of 18 years and one month. He didn’t have a chance to graduate or celebrate so many things life may have offered. His parents were obviously devastated. They ran his obituary and paid to keep it running for 2 years, allowing people to still comment. His little sister was left in the shadows. Their grief actually short changed the little girl as her celebrations weren’t met with the enthusiasm they may have had. I felt sorry for her. So Brianna’s venting had some merit.
A note I’d like to make is the use of character names from Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Perhaps it’s a coincidence, or a tribute to a favored author but did anyone notice Claire, Brianna and Jenny as character names?
There is evidently a second book with Detective Connor Parks and Claire features in this one as well. While this was a page turner I think I will skip the next books.