By LARRY BALLWAHN | Wilton
Detective Tom Moon is the leader of an FBI task force charged with combating international crime. Set in the metropolitan area of Miami, “Lost” deals largely with human trafficking. Russian gangs have established a trade that collects Europeans, primarily young girls, in Amsterdam and usually ships them to ports in Florida. As the story opens, however, a group of six youngsters is being shepherded through the Miami airport. The task force had been tipped off by the Amsterdam officials and consequently was waiting. The children, both boys and girls, ranged in age from 7 or 8 to approximately 16. All were directed into a specific line even though it was not the shortest. The significance of that was not made clear, as a premature intervention on the children’s chaperone, and the significant altercation, resulted in the chaperone’s demise. The children were then escorted to headquarters until arrangements could be made for their care and return.
Uncomfortable with the care available, Detective Moon took the children to the home that he shared with his mother and sister. His mother, with dementia problems, was in her glory with the youngsters there.
Roman Rostoff was the acknowledged leader of the Miami Russians. To display his displeasure with the most recent activity of the task force, the body of a young woman was unceremoniously dumped with her throat cut and her fake passport inserted. That upset Detective Moon, and he immediately confronted Rostoff in his office. Thanks to a couple of Rostoff minions, the scene turned ugly and concluded with threats being made on both sides.
Leaving an assistant in charge, Moon flew with the children back to Amsterdam. They trusted him, and it gave Moon a chance to see law enforcement there dealing with the same problems. Escorted by officer Marie Merijer, he learned that the Russians had their hands in the Amsterdam side of the operation as well. He also learned that Merijer had some trustworthy informants and that was where the airport tip had come from. It is here that the reader is introduced to Hanna Greet, her daughter Josie, and her brother Albert. She runs a small human-trafficking operation also. A bit of bad luck had gotten her into debt with the Russians. The aborted Miami airport operation left her unable to repay the loan, which gave the Russians considerable leverage.
When Hanna’s next shipment, more than 20 people in a ship’s cargo container, arrives, all the organizations, legal and otherwise, are waiting. And Hanna’s daughter is nowhere to be found. The stage is set.
How are Patterson and Moon going to work this out? Additionally, Patterson has a reputation of being very involved in choosing the title of his books. Is ‘Lost’ an appropriate title for this story?