The Lucky One
The Lucky One is a cat-and-mouse game between a former kidnapping victim and a woman who’s far too familiar with her kidnapper. Filled with great twists, amusing characters and some sly surprises, it’s an enjoyable read.
Alice Fine – who was kidnapped from her family’s backyard when she was a toddler but returned unharmed twenty-four hours later – has an ordinary but highly insular and overprotected life working at her retired policeman father’s construction company. Just about the only place her father can’t protect her is the world wide web, where Alice spends a lot of her time trying to bring other kids and kidnapping victims home by working with a website called the Doe Pages, which houses a group of volunteers who search for clues in missing persons cases. When the man who kidnapped her shows up on the Doe Pages as a missing person for just an instant, Alice’s world turns upside down. She decides to make contact with her fellow Doe Pages friends, trying to suss out who posted her kidnapper’s picture – and perhaps claim some revenge of her own.
Merrily Cruz works a corporate job and has an awkward relationship with her mom; the only interesting thing about her life is her quasi-father figure, Richard – Rick – Kisel, who did something infamous and with whom she’s still in contact with all of these years later because he was once her mother’s boyfriend. When Rick mysteriously disappears, the loss of him pokes at her. In the process of searching for him, she runs straight into Alice.
Together, Alice and Merrily try to weave the memories of their separate childhoods into a single narrative to figure out why a guy like Rick would kidnap Alice – and where he could possibly be now.
The Lucky One is a tense, interesting mystery that drags the reader into unexpected places and encourages them to peer at the situation through parallel views. Alice and Merrily have both known the same man – but their perspectives on him are entirely different, and entirely unique. There’s no ‘right’ answer to how they both feel about Rick.
I liked Juby and Lillian, Alice’s fellow Doe Pages investigators, who soon become a part of the mystery as they help the two women uncover Rick’s truth; they add the right note of quirkiness to the whole. And probably the best part of the story is the investigation, though Merrily is given a cutely inoffensive romantic subplot.
The reason the book doesn’t merit an A grade is simple; it doesn’t quite have the punch to maintain its premise by the last couple of pages, even with its twist.
Yet, ultimately the villain is believable, the action interesting, and the characters relatable and engaging, so I can’t mark it down too far. The Lucky Ones is suspenseful and interesting, and in the end worthy of a place on anyone’s winter reading list.