I was provided with a copy of this book for my honest review. In the psychological thriller Method 15/33 by Shannon Kirk, kidnappers are working in concert to abduct pregnant teen girls. Federal agents are stumped with very few leads to follow and very little manpower with only two agents assigned to the case.
One of the abductees, a cunning teenage science prodigy in the seventh month of her pregnancy, was snatched off of the road into a filthy van on her way to school, walking alone. Her case is handed off to the wrong department; law enforcement thinks she’s a runaway, not an abductee, and no one asks for a ransom. We soon learn that the kidnappers are not after money; they are ruthlessly and violently collecting the children of the victims.
The book’s focus is on one abductee’s ability to coldly calculate the assets available to her within her surroundings to concoct a plan that will help her and her unborn child escape with their lives while simultaneously exacting revenge upon the perpetrators. Having trained herself over the course of her life to be able to turn on and off her emotions like a switch so that she doesn’t have to feel anything that might be potentially painful for her to process and deal with, the girl studies her jailer with scientific precision until she is sure of his movements, behaviors, flaws, and weaknesses, and plots her method of escape and revenge. Sadly, she has no clue what’s happening in the rest of the house once she makes it out of that room.
We learn more about the FBI agents who are assigned to the case, their backgrounds, why they decided on the career paths they chose, and why certain aspects of the cases they solve are personal for them. We learn through their interactions and observations what their lives are like, and by the time we see their paths cross with the abducted girl who has delivered on nothing short of a Rube Goldberg machine of death, we understand how all of their various gifts could work in concert to bring down the kidnapping ring in a low manpower scenario without any backup on the way.
I highly recommend this book. I liked it up until the epilogue which seems to tie things up a little too neatly for my tastes – with a main character so hell-bent on having complete scientific control of the world around her, I would have liked to see her character arc affected by the chaos of the world around her and ultimately see her grow from that interaction rather than to have her need for control over the environment work out so well for her that her experience only serves to validate the compulsion. Still, this is a gripping page-turner and a great read as you try to picture what you would do in her shoes, growing attached to the girl and hoping for the best for her, her unborn child, and her family.
Method 15/33 is Shannon Kirk’s first novel. A Suffolk Law School alum, a practicing Massachusetts attorney, and a law professor, she has been honored three times by the Faulkner Society in the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition.