Book: Off the Face of the Earth

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Off the Face of the Earth

Author: Aljean Harmetz
Publisher: Pocket

When eight-year-old David Greene climbs through his bedroom window and walks to a nearby suburban mall, he intends only to give his mother Drew a scare. But on this Southern California evening, David’s game turns into every parent’s worst nightmare.

Denver’s abduction of David is practiced and nearly perfect. A friendly “stranger” masking a deeply confused and dangerous mind, Denver woos David with stacks of baseball cards, swiftly undermining the boy’s trained responses. When David accepts the offer of a ride home, he disappears—off the face of the earth.

As the hours pass, Drew’s emotions escalate, from anger at her son’s disobedience to fear, to stunned disbelief when she realizes David is not with his father or friends. He’s gone. All too soon, the Sherwood Police charge a local schizophrenic with David’s murder and declare the case closed. Fueled by terror and an acute instinct that her son is still alive, Drew appeals to her disjointed family and a maverick police officer. Together they launch their own full-scale search.

The story alternates between Drew’s frantic hunt for the son she knows is still living and the boy’s brave struggle to survive by leaving clever hints of his presence even as Denver retreats further and further into insanity.

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