The Missing Element
John L. Betcher
CreateSpace (March 8, 2010)
Reader’s Choice Rating * * * * *
The Missing Element is the story of James “Beck” Becker and his wife Elizabeth, who have returned to Beck’s childhood home in Red Wing, Minnesota to enjoy retirement from their covert government jobs. Of course, life is anything but quiet with Beck around.
When Katherine Whitson, a Minneapolis computer genius, disappears under mysterious circumstances, her husband George calls the local police. After receiving no help from police, George then solicits a Red Wing acquaintance to convince Beck to help find Katherine.
Beginning at Katherine’s luxury apartment in the Minneapolis Warehouse District, Author John L. Betcher puts his protagonist through a labyrinth of red herrings. Beck’s investigation starts with George as the unfaithful husband, and then his lover, to Katherine’s work colleagues and on through the ranks of an influential computer company and into the overwhelming world of computer microprocessors before he can begin to find answers.
To solve the mystery of why Katherine was kidnapped—and to save her—Beck must draw on his resources with the FBI and their computer experts, as well as the expertise of his wife Elizabeth the former CIA agent.
Betcher leads us into the world of advanced computer technology and international espionage with this captivating suspense thriller. As we follow Beck on his quest to locate Katherine we are introduced to several colorful characters. There is the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Deputy, Doug Gunderson, and his wife, Connie, who enlist Beck’s help. The brawn in this story is provided by the enigmatic Terry “Bull” Red Feather. Bull is drawn into the story when Beck requests his assistance in dealing with the nefarious characters who try to stand in his way.
The Missing Element is well-written, the plot is intriguing, and the characters are interesting. Betcher draws you in from page one and holds your interest to the very last. Unlike many recent novels, Betcher takes his time tying up the loose ends and concluding the story. This book is obviously the beginning of an exciting new series of suspense novels for Betcher. The Missing Element is recommended for those who love to curl up with an entertaining mystery/suspense novel. It offers a little something for everyone: lively characters, espionage and cyber-technology, and of course the mystery of who took Katherine Whitson and why. Fans of Parker, Grisham, and Clancy will enjoy this first installment in the James Becker series.
Reviewed by Deb L. Baker for Reader’s Choice Book Reviews