It would be easy to underestimate Kate White, whose thriller The Wrong Man begins with the slightly frivolous theme of women’s romantic fiction.Protagonist Kit Finn, a New York City decorator,
is on a business trip in the Florida Keys, bemoaning the difficulty of finding a good man. Meeting handsome and charismatic Matt Healy, Kit succumbs to the inevitable, spending a passionate night in bed with a man who makes it clear
that he wants no strings attached to their dalliance. En route to New York City the following day, Kit is surprised and delighted when Matt calls and asks her for a date back in the city, arranging to meet her at his Manhattan apartment.
The night of the date, when Kit arrives at the luxurious high-rise and rings the bell of Matt’s apartment, she walks into the beginning of a nightmare that has repercussions beyond the encounter with Matt Healy in the Florida Keys.
Suddenly she is involved in a mystery she doesn’t understand and at the mercy of those playing an elaborate game
in which she is both pawn and person of interest. Unsure what to think or do, Kit withdraws to the security of her work as a decorator, but even that sanctuary is threatened by escalating events.
She is called back to Islamorada to identify a body, rigorously interviewed by a team of corporate executives and her small but thriving business assaulted by a series of misadventures--all the result of one night’s indiscretion.
With her one-bedroom apartment connected to her office space by a connecting door, Kit finds that particular convenience to be a problem as whatever she is involved in encroaches on her business and threatens the safety of her coworkers. Her former safe place is invaded more than once, her business partner offering sage advice and shelter when necessary. Finn juggles clients and a newly complicated private life, attempting to keep her decorating business uninterrupted while fending off intruders, the aggressive demands of Healy’s corporate partners for more interviews, and questions from police detectives
in both New York and Miami.
White takes an innocent character dedicated to moving her business forward, a decorator with an influential and savvy older business partner and paid assistant, and tosses her into chaos and confusion with an innocent encounter, that event now touching every aspect of her life. This is a classic tale: a damsel in distress in great danger, with no one to turn to and threats on all sides. She may be just a small-time career woman--and spectacularly unlucky in love--but Kit refuses to be a victim of circumstances (even those she doesn’t yet comprehend), learning with each new threat, gathering information in a quest to understand her place in a high-stakes drama before she loses everything that is important to her.
White skillfully handles a plot filled with unexpected twists and revelations, the tension exacerbated with each of Kit’s encounters--some of which put her in real jeopardy.
Menace follows her from her office to the corporate maze of Healy’s office and the familiar streets of the city, convincing
her that her every action is being watched. Avoiding the obvious, the author makes no distinction between bad and good guys, Kit always unsure who is friend or foe, more conscious of danger the deeper she is drawn into this elaborate deceit. Not an intellectual but a self-taught businesswoman still harboring the romantic fantasy of the ideal man, Kit Finn takes on an enemy she cannot see, becoming street-smart and defiant, unwilling to be the pawn of arrogant men.