This suspenseful novel starts out in a very promising way with every parent’s worst nightmare: A divorced father is dumbfounded and frantic when his teenage daughter doesn’t come home from her summer job one evening. When he goes to her workplace to inquire about her, they claim not to know who she is. So if she wasn’t going to work every day, where was she going, and where is she now?
The first two-thirds of Fear the Worst are solid, filled with a frantic dad trying to convince everyone, including the police, that his daughter’s an innocent teen mixed up in some scary stuff. I know you won’t be shocked — shocked! — to hear that the police not only don’t believe him, they think he had something to do with her disappearance. But the ending is so weirdly convoluted I’m still not sure I understand exactly what happened. Between dead bodies showing up on dad’s lawn and a climactic scene at a shabby Catskills resort, it’s a disappointing denouement to an otherwise tense thriller.