Pat Nolan is a retired American construction engineer who is summoned to Paris by the grim news that his estranged daughter has committed suicide there. However, Nolan quickly discovers that the body in the morgue isn’t that of his daughter, who is evidently still alive and trying to get some sort of mysterious message to him. The Paris police and the French intelligence apparatus also appear to be quite interested in whether or not Megan Nolan is still alive, and if so, where she is.
James LePore’s debut novel A WORLD I NEVER MADE is the story of Pat Nolan’s investigation into his daughter’s life in Europe, and naturally, the deeper he digs, the more complicated – and dangerous – things get. It’s not giving away too much to reveal that Megan was involved with a Saudi terrorist, since LePore uses parallel storylines to flash back to the events over the year leading up to the call that told Pat Nolan his daughter was dead.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading this book, since it’s a first novel from a publisher I wasn’t familiar with, but what I got was a well-written thriller with a likable hero and interesting characters. Pat Nolan reminded me a little of another two-fisted American construction engineer, Matt Erridge, who appeared in a number of globe-trotting adventure novels by the prolific Aaron Marc Stein. (I know some of you have probably never heard of Stein, but he was a good solid mystery author worthy of rediscovery.) LePore keeps the pace moving along briskly and saves one last surprise for the epilogue, which is always a good thing as far as I’m concerned. A WORLD I NEVER MADE is a fine novel, and I’ll be keeping my eyes open for future books by James LePore.