Set in an unnamed USA city, JM Calder's second thriller AND HOPE TO DIE is chilling. The book opens as a package is received by the parents of a kidnapped little girl. Finding out that this little girl is the 4th child taken by the same kidnapper and then discovering that even though the children are released, they have been purposely mutilated is bad enough. Then finding out that the kidnapper's demands aren't for money, but for the suicide of the mother in return for the life of the child, and you're going to be squirming in your chair as you read.
Solomon Glass has been investigating these crimes since the first kidnapping and by the 4th case they are no closer to finding any clues. There just does not seem to be any connection between the victims, no clues to the kidnapper's identity and no real idea where to start. The lack of progress isn't helped when the father of the latest victim is a powerful financier in the city and able to exert a lot of pressure on the mayor, which feeds to Glass's boss Keeves who has no hesitation in dumping the pressure directly on everyone in Glass's team.
Lieutenant Solomon Glass – Solly to everyone around him is a veteran police officer with a reputation for being different. He's also a man on the way back from his own personal tragedy. Dan Maloney, his new, young partner is an eager and hardworking policemen with a lot of respect for Glass. Nora Bloom, secret girlfriend of Maloney, and member of the IT / Files and Records Section of the force, has been seconded to the team for this investigation and she is also one of the officers who likes working with Glass. Glass has a background in psychology, a difficult personal past and an approach to crime solving that is part psychology, part sheer effort and part lunatic. Eventually it becomes clear that these kidnappings are a message to Glass and as a suspect is finally identified, Glass is ultimately the only person who can stop this man.
AND HOPE TO DIE is fascinating. In the early stages the book starts to play out very much like a police procedural, albeit with some unexpected twists and turns from Glass. But as the pressure builds, the latest victim still missing and the kidnapper becoming increasingly cruel as he plays with the parents, the book twists into a more complex thriller. Glass, despite the respect that his team holds him in, becomes more and more of a loner and slowly his family and personal story is revealed. More and more the entire story comes down to a battle between Glass and the unknown kidnapper.
The final scenes twist and turn as page by page the kidnapper seems to be more and more elusive. Glass's final solution is pretty obvious, but that doesn't detract from the page twisting worry that he's not actually going to pull this off.