I’ve been enjoying Christopher Greyson’s Jack Stratton series of mystery/thrillers. And Then She Was Gone is another Jack Stratton book, but unlike the others it doesn’t include the word “Jack” in the title. That seems to be a purposeful change, because unlike the other books, this one is really a young adult novel. It jumps back in time to the period between Jack’s high school graduation and his induction into the Army.
A young wife, joyful at the news that she will be a mother, is murdered in a park after dark. Evidence points to a young black man, a neighbor of Jack’s old foster family, from the time before his adoption. Jack doesn’t even like the guy. But his Aunt Haddie, his foster mother, whom he loves, insists that he try to find evidence to clear the young man – because he plans to be a policeman after his Army hitch. He reluctantly makes the attempt, but soon finds himself in trouble with the police, who do not like his interference. But Aunt Haddie’s faith keeps him trying, even after he screws up. Someone gave up on Jack once, long ago, and he just doesn’t have it in him to “throw anybody away.”
I’ll have to admit I liked this book less than the others in the series, but I blame that on my personal issues. It’s a story about a young man defying authority, and that simply makes me uncomfortable. Author Greyson has actually done a remarkable thing here – writing a “young rebel” story that in fact upholds traditional values. These stories are Christian novels in the better sense – the Christianity is folded in naturally, and there’s no preaching. Several of the characters here will be dead in the following books, so a certain poignancy is built in too.
I recommend And Then She Was Gone, especially for young adult readers. I will continue to follow the Jack Stratton series with pleasure.