by Julie HaleMay, 2006
This noir-ish thriller is a sequel to Busch's 1997 novel Girls. Jack, who appeared in the previous book, has left the New York police force to work as a security guard at a vacation spot on the North Carolina coast. He gets more than he bargains for when he crosses paths with a young woman named Merle Davidoff. A tough, attractive lawyer from Manhattan, Merle enlists Jack to help locate her missing nephew, Tyler, a good-for-nothing sort who kept bad company and disappeared somewhere up north. Jack takes the assignment, heading back to New York only to find himself face to face with memories of his recent past: late wife, lost friends, unresolved issues the works. Along the way, he discovers another possible case, the disappearance of a child in an incident that adds to his steadily increasing fears about the modern world and the decline of justice. This is an edgy, suspenseful mystery, sinister and stylishly written from start to finish. Busch has created a memorable central character whose motivations and personal relationships have proven well worth exploring over the course of a pair of poignant narratives. At once a detective novel and the story of a man coming to terms with his painful past, North is a tense and melancholy book characterized by pared-down prose, with sentences inspired by Hemingway and Hammett. A reading group guide is included in the book.