“Give me one name. One person. And I will make them disappear.”
Sarah is a young professor struggling to prove herself in a workplace controlled by the charming and manipulative Alan Hawthorne. A renowned scholar and television host, Hawthorne rakes in million-dollar grants for the university where Sarah works—so his inappropriate treatment of female colleagues behind closed doors has gone unchallenged for years. And Sarah is his newest target.
When Hawthorne’s advances become threatening, Sarah is left with nowhere to turn. Until the night she witnesses an attempted kidnapping of a young child on her drive home, and impulsively jumps in to intervene. The child’s father turns out to be a successful businessman with dangerous connections—and her act of bravery has put this powerful man in her debt. He gives Sarah a burner phone and an unbelievable offer. A once-in-a-lifetime deal that can make all her problems disappear.
No consequences. No traces. All it takes is a 29-second phone call.
Because everyone has a name to give. Don’t they?
My Thoughts: A ripped-from-the- headlines story, 29 Seconds gripped me from the very beginning. The intensity of Sarah’s situation as a target of a manipulative and predatory department head at the university where she teaches kept me rapidly turning pages, wondering where she would turn next.
Her bravery in intercepting a kidnapper and saving a child led to a situation that seemed too good to be true. How would a grateful wealthy man somehow pay the debt he believes he owes her? What would go wrong?
At every turn, I was furious at how the evil Alan Hawthorne managed to escape consequences for his actions, so I was intent on rooting for Sarah in her various attempts to outsmart him. When she finally has no other options, she takes on the complicated task of turning the tables on him, with a little help from some technologically adept assistants. I couldn’t anticipate how it would all play out until the final pages, so I couldn’t stop reading. 5 stars.
***My e-ARC came from the publisher via NetGalley.