As usual, book received in return for an honest review. I’m going to do something I wouldn’t normally bother with but in this case I think it’s necessary, and add a content warning because of the subject matter.
CW: Child abuse, abduction, paedophilia, murder, suicide
Publication Date: 6th January 2017
Published By: HQ Digital
A missing child. A dead body. A killer on the loose.
Returning to Exeter CID after his son’s unsolved disappearance Detective Sergeant Peter Gayle’s first day back was supposed to be gentle. Until a young girl is reported missing and the clock begins to tick.
Rosie Whitlock has been abducted from outside her school that morning. There are no clues, but Peter isn’t letting another child disappear.
When the body of another young victim appears, the hunt escalates. Someone is abducting young girls and now they have a murderer on their hands. Time is running out for Rosie, but when evidence case relating to his own son’s disappearance is discovered the stakes are even higher…
Oh My Gods! This book was so engrossing I was disappointed when it ended. Seriously, and such a cliffhanger to end on.
There aren’t any graphic scenes of abuse but there is some description of paedophilic photographs, as part of the case; the bodies of two young girls are found naked and raped in the River Exe, one before and one after a teenage girl is abducted from her school. The abduction case leads the newly returned DS Pete Gayle into the murky world of paedophilia and sexual abuse of children. The three cases, and that of his own missing son, Tommy, are not thought to be linked at first, but when photographs of the missing girl are found on a suspect’s computers, and another suspect commits suicide, resulting in the police finding images of the two dead girls in his attic, they are linked and the hunt is on to find the perpetrator. Eventually CCTV footage and a witness provide the vital lead, taking the police to the home of a primary school teacher, a rural barn and the streets of Exeter, as the missing girls is found and the perpetrator hunted down. In the process, new evidence is unearthed about Tommy’s character and his abduction. His part in the kidnapping and murders is unknown and contradictory evidence emerges.
The characters were realistic and engaging, the plot kept me glued to the tablet as I rushed through in an effort to find out what happens. There is satisfaction in the resolution of the main plot – based around the kidnapping and murder cases but the subplot – that of DS Gayle’s missing son threads through it and developments leave the reader wanting to know what really happened, especially after the information we find out about his character. The handling of Louise Gayle’s depression is well done and fairly accurate.