Book review: Harper’s ‘Force of Nature’ explores disappearance of whistleblower

By LARRY BALLWAHN | Wilton

When the woman who has been feeding inside information to the police disappears during a company team-building exercise, perhaps she was found out or ….

Federal agents Aaron Falk and Carmen Cooper have been working with the whistleblower. Have they pushed her too hard? Is it the agency’s fault she’s gone, or has she temporarily lost her way in the wilderness? She certainly wouldn’t be the first in this area.

Bailey Tennants, the company, has a long history of money laundering and perhaps more. The feds know that to be true but have been unable to prove it. Alice, the missing person, had been on the verge of getting the needed contracts; then she disappeared.

The story moves back and forth from the experiences of the five women involved in the wilderness exercise to the investigation. The investigation begins only after four of the five women have stumbled out of the wilderness. Although the change in time is well handled, the reader must still be alert.

Since the women didn’t want to participate in the exercise and there are long-standing rifts in their relationships, tensions are just below the surface. When it becomes clear that they are off the marked trail, the tensions surface. Among them, cell phones aren’t allowed on the exercise, but one person has brought hers anyway. And she is the one who fails to return.

It doesn’t help anything that the serial killer, Martin Kovac was said to have a cabin in the area. Kovac is in jail, but he has a son who just might be nearby. Oh, and there’s a complication involving the children of several of the protagonists use of the internet.

The federal agents are not directly involved in the search for the missing hiker; rather, they are assessing the information as it comes in and gathering data from outside sources. The reader can join them in pursuing the clues. Good luck with that.

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