Bestselling author Harlan Coben brings back former basketball star-turned-agent Myron Bolitar in “Promise Me.” In an excerpt from this action-packed thriller, Myron makes a promise to a troubled teen-aged girl, a promise that comes back to haunt him.
The missing girl — there had been unceasing news reports, always flashing to that achingly ordinary school portrait of the vanished teen, you know the one, with the rainbow-swirl background, the girl’s hair too straight, her smile too self-conscious, then a quick cut to the worried parents on the front lawn, microphones surrounding them, Mom silently tearful, Dad reading a statement with quivering lip — that girl, that missing girl, had just walked past Edna Skylar.
Stanley, her husband, took two more steps before realizing that his wife was no longer at his side. He turned around. “Edna?”
They stood near the corner of Twenty-first Street and Eighth Avenue in New York City. Street traffic was light this Saturday morning. Foot traffic was heavy. The missing girl had been headed uptown.
Stanley gave a world-weary sigh. “What now?”
She needed to think. That high school portrait of the girl, the one with the rainbow-swirl background ... Edna closed her eyes. She needed to conjure up the image in her head. Compare and contrast.
In the photograph, the missing girl had long, mousy-brown hair. The woman who’d just walked by — woman, not girl, because the one who’d just walked by seemed older, but maybe the picture was old too — was a redhead with a shorter, wavy cut. The girl in the photograph did not wear glasses. The one who was heading north up Eighth Avenue had on a fashionable pair with dark, rectangular frames. Her clothes and makeup were both more — for a lack of a better word — adult.
Studying faces was more than a hobby with Edna. She was sixty-three years old, one of the few female physicians in her age group who specialized in the field of genetics. Faces were her life. Part of her brain was always working, even when far away from her office. She couldn’t help it — Dr. Edna Skylar studied faces. Her friends and family were used to the probing stare, but strangers and new acquaintances found it disconcerting.