Alice Halpern, pregnant with twins, waits for her friend Lauren outside of their children's school. Lauren, almost nine months pregnant herself, never shows up for their meeting. Alice collects both sets of children and goes home to wait--maybe Lauren has gone into labor and isn't able to call. As the hours grow later, still no one has heard from Lauren. Her husband, Tim, frantic with worry, is summoned home from a business trip. The police can pinpoint Lauren's last known location, but it seems as if she has vanished into thin air.
As Alice tries to go about her normal routines, she discovers that she's being followed. Information comes to light about another pregnant woman's disappearance. Is there a serial kidnapper at work? Is Alice in danger? The police aren't telling her everything, and Alice begins to get more and more suspicious. What is going on?
Seven Minutes to Noon starts off as a fast-paced, intriguing thriller. The eerie atmosphere is created immediately when Alice is waiting for Lauren and stepps up a notch as the hours pass and no one hears from her. Their families are incredibly close, and the disappearance affects everyone involved. Emotions are tautly on edge. Yet just when all of the pieces of the puzzle are laid out for the reader to put things together, SEVEN MINUTES TO NOON disintegrates into an unbelievable conclusion and resolution.
I had such high hopes for Seven Minutes to Noon since Pepper's first novel, Five Days in Summer, was so intricately plotted and exciting. But Seven Minutes to Noon never achieves the mysterious twists that leave readers gasping with surprise. It's redeemed somewhat by a likable cast of characters, but skip the epilogue if you want to maintain any sense of believability.