Finished July 27
A Tap on the Window by Linwood Barclay
Barclay is a master of the everyday becoming dangerous. Here the setting is the small town of Griffon in upstate New York, near Buffalo. Cal Weaver and his family moved to Griffon about six years ago, when Weaver started his career as a private investigator. Two months ago, Weaver's teenage son, Scott, died tragically. Cal and his wife Donna are struggling to go on, barely interacting with each other, each finding their own way of coping with their grief and loss.
As Cal is returning home one evening, a girl his son's age, taps on a window when he is stopped at a light and asks for a ride. He knows that a man his age giving a ride to a teenage girl looks bad, but when she says she knew Scott and that she thinks someone might be watching her, making her scared, how can he say no? So, he gives her a ride, and when she asks to stop at a local diner because she feels ill, he does that too. Cal begins to sense there is something wrong at this point, but he has already become involved.
When the police stop at his house the next day to say the girl is missing, he immediately starts following what leads he has, determined to find her. His search uncovers the secrets of many people, and some will guard those secrets with threats and force on others.
As Cal uncovers more of these secrets and starts to find out some of the acts that have been going on in his community, he finds his circle of trust growing smaller.
Cal isn't a perfect man, and his grief has caused him to act in ways he is later ashamed of. But he is a good man at heart, trying to make sense of things and trying to protect the vulnerable when he can.