September 30, 2014
SVU #24, His Secret Past: More Like THEIR Secret Pasts
Summary: Forget about Ben, Josh, and all of Jessica’s other recent love interests: It’s Nick Fox’s time to shine. Jessica meets him on campus when he sees her ad selling her and Elizabeth’s TV, and Jess immediately falls in luuuuuuuuuv. Nick seems nice but it also a little shady. For example, he pulls out some self-defense moves when someone taps him on the shoulder. What Jessica doesn’t know is that Nick is using her for some mysterious reason. He knows he’s falling in luuuuuuuuv with her, and he has to remind himself that he’s hanging out with her for “business.”
Jessica spots a gun in Nick’s glove compartment and starts to wonder what his deal is. She thinks he could be a spy, which gets her really excited. She overhears him on the phone, arranging a delivery, and tries to get him to tell her what’s going on. He won’t, only saying that he carries a gun for protection after a mugging. His mysterious deliveries, weapon, and pager add up to drug dealer for Lila, who is smarter than anyone gives her credit for.
Nick goes to a party with Jessica, asking if she and her friends will be doing any drugs. Jess assures him that they won’t. Nick realizes he’s not going to get anywhere in his “business” with this group, but he likes hanging out with Jessica, so he doesn’t want to move on just yet. In other news, Celine is back and wants to become a Theta and steal Nick from Jessica. Alison has befriended her, which means Jessica has extra interest in keeping Celine out of the sorority. Celine flirts with Nick, promising him a good time, and he realizes that she’s the one who can get him access to drugs at SVU.
Jess is ticked over Nick’s interest in Celine, but since he insists it’s platonic, she shifts her focus to whatever he’s keeping from her. She answers his cell phone (which is another reason she thinks he’s a spy – in 1996, who other than spies had a cell phone?) and hears about a delivery taking place at 2 a.m. She decides she’ll show up and see what Nick’s up to. Brilliant plan, Jess.
Elizabeth has her own mystery man to deal with: She meets a guy named George Conroy who’s on campus in hopes of finding his son. He’s never actually met his son, as Conroy and his wife split up when the boy was a baby (thanks to Conroy’s cheating), and he thinks his wife let her second husband give the baby his last name. He has little information to go on, except his son’s birth month and the possibility that he goes to school in California. That’s so little to go on that even a professional PI would probably be hesitant to take the case.
But Elizabeth never gives up! She will find this man’s son! She thinks Conroy’s story would make a great piece for the TV station. Who knew she was so opportunistic? She doesn’t seem to care that she has so many other responsibilities, like school and the TV station and the care and feeding of Tom. She’s also planning a big surprise 21st birthday for him.
Oh, did I mention that Tom’s birthday is this month? Elizabeth wants to cheer him up since, you know, his whole family is dead. It doesn’t help that he’s been working on a family-tree project for one of his classes. Isn’t that more of an elementary-school thing? Thanks to all the time Elizabeth’s spending helping Conroy and planning the party, Tom thinks there’s something wrong. Elizabeth is trying extra-hard not to let Tom find out about the party, and she’s not a great actress.
But there’s no time to worry about that! Elizabeth needs to reunite a family! She and Conroy visit a bunch of banks, trying to find out if his son has an account anywhere. Of course, no bank will release confidential information to them. This is really a difficult search, since Conroy doesn’t know if his son is using his stepfather’s last name or his mother’s maiden name, Antoniani. There also doesn’t seem to be any confirmation that the son is a) in California or b) in college. I can’t imagine Conroy has done all this searching in multiple other towns.
Just before the party, Elizabeth goes to get Tom for what she’s told him is a romantic birthday dinner. She sees his family-tree project and learns that his mother’s maiden name is Antoniani. Finally, what’s been clear to readers the whole book clicks into place for Elizabeth: Tom is Conroy’s son. This means his entire family isn’t dead after all. She quickly calls Conroy and has him come to the surprise party. Happy birthday, Tom! Your parents lied to you about your paternity!
Alex is having a bad month. She’s doing poorly in her classes, she’s not happy with her appearance, and she doesn’t like that Noah isn’t good at cheering her up. Basically, Alex is Elizabeth at the beginning of freshman year. (Except it’s still freshman year, so I’m not really sure how long these people have been at SVU.) She’s been sober for a while but is struggling to stay on the wagon. Alex sees Noah hanging out with another girl, and of course she misinterprets the whole thing. Despite being so popular earlier in the series, she apparently doesn’t have any friends now, so she spends the book moping.
Things finally fall apart when Noah tells Alex that, basically, she’s not at a weak enough point to ruin her sobriety, and all she wants is pity. Yeah, dump him, Alex. She goes to Tom’s party, despite feeling mopey, and is harassed by a couple of drunk guys. Nick gets them to leave her alone, then reveals to Alex what he’s been keeping from everyone else, including Jessica: He’s an undercover cop. To! Be! Continued
Thoughts: “Tom had a bad case of the blues, but she had the cure.” Liz, he doesn’t have a “case of the blues.” He’s sad beacuse his ENTIRE FAMILY IS DEAD. A party isn’t going to make that better.
Nick claims that the mob rigs carnival games. Why would they? There’s no money in that.
Jessica: “He’s too smooth and good looking to be into drugs.” Lila: “Do you think you have to pass an ugly test before they let you sell drugs?” Hee.
If Nick is telling strangers who he really is and trusting they’ll just keep their mouths shut, I think it’s fair to say he’s not very good at his job.
Why is it a plot point that Nina got a haircut? Is this going to come back later? Should I remember it? Guys, remember that nina got a haircut in this book, in case it’s important later.