Threshold, by GM Ford *****

thresholdGM Ford writes really strong mystery novels. He takes the reader from falling-down-funny to high voltage suspense with a mere flip of the kindle page. As usual, this novel, a stand-alone called Threshold, is set here in Seattle.

Mickey Dolan is a detective sergeant, and he is tasked with helping find the wife and two daughters of a powerful city councilman. But not all is as it appears. Much of the mystery centers around an albino woman named Grace. Grace has the ability to bring people out of comas; at one point, she says that these are people that weren’t really ready to die yet anyway, but this is the closest Ford has ever come to dabbling with the supernatural. It makes me wonder whether he will ever try writing horror. But that is speculation on my part; here, it is just one element of a really great tale of suspense.

Back to our story. Grace, her mother Eve, and the missing family members appear to be tucked into an anonymous, generally industrial chunk of land in the industrial Duwamish heartland of Seattle. Why are they there of all places, and why was it so impossible to find them? Why is Grace so reclusive, and what does she have to do with the missing family members?

At some point, the credibility question pops up. I’m a big believer in facts. I like the material world, and when things start to go woo-woo, as when supernatural gifts are introduced into the plot, my forehead wrinkles. What’s up with the weird stuff?

But when all is said and done, a strong writer can make me believe just about anything. Just as Steve King convinced me that there was a haunted clown in the sewer, Ford got me to buy Grace Pressman’s quirky little talent. Because when all is said and done, if the story is good enough, we will want to believe it in order to keep the magic flowing, and that’s how this tale was for me.

Note that there is no thank you to the publishers here. I found this little gem for less than a Lincoln on Amazon, and I said oh hell yes. I almost never pay full jacket price for a book these days; retired academics don’t have a lot of pocket money, and my educator discount bit the dust when I left my profession. This one was both cheaper than usual, and by an author I really enjoy, so I straight-up bought it.

So should you.

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