“The Empty Bed,” Ballantine, by Nina Sadowsky

Nina Sadowsky’s affinity for melding the adventure thriller with aspects of the spy novel receives another rousing workout in “The Empty Bed,” the second in her highly entertaining Burial Society series.

Sadowsky deftly juggles two separate, engrossing story lines, linked only by the mysterious Catherine, whose Burial Society works underground to help people disappear from their lives — a kind of private witness protection organization.

Catherine and her team, many of whom she previously rescued, are working to relocate Knox Pharmaceuticals’ key employees and their families before a pending lawsuit comes to trial. These employees know that Knox’s new Alzheimer’s drug has a high percentage of life-threatening side effects, and the company is ignoring the test results. The lawsuit could put Knox out of business.


As Catherine and company work to keep the employees safe, she is asked by British investment firm CEO Forrest Holcomb, an old friend, to help find the wife of one of his top employees. Workaholic Peter Lombard took his wife, Eva, to Hong Kong for their anniversary vacation. But the next morning, Eva has disappeared.

The exciting plot gets a workout as “The Empty Bed” focuses on undercover work, disguises and a far-flung network of contacts as Catherine’s operatives work to keep the Knox employees safe and find Eva. The focus on the Lombards’ marriage and their life in London gives insight to their characters. Peter ignored Eva’s fears that she was being followed and how lonely she was in London as the plot spins beyond the friction between a husband and wife.

The international scenery enhances “The Empty Bed,” from the upper-class neighborhoods to the high-end area of Hong Kong as well as its gritty brothels and popular cybercafes.

The title suggests “The Empty Bed” is a romance. Instead, this is high adventure.

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