When driving home, Detective Sergeant Jessica Daniel is horrified to witness a car crash right in front of her. The driver is beyond help, but there is worse to come as in the boot of the car, Jessica finds the body of a young boy, Isaac Hutchings, who has been missing for three weeks. Bizarrely, a map is found in the possession of the dead man. A map that leads the police to a buried package of clothing – clothing that belonged to Toby Whittaker, a boy that disappeared fourteen years ago.
As Jessica and her colleagues investigate further, they find a list of names of children with Isaac’s name at the top of it. As they struggle to find the link between the names, their worst fears are realised – another child on the list disappears…
First off, an apology. With the many series that I review, occasionally I forget about one or two of them. (Who mentioned Ellery Queen? Not me…) So, as part of the Readathon that I’m taking part in (see below), I decided it was about time I checked in with Jessica Daniel again. Thus far she has made four appearances before this one (and five subsequent ones) and I’ve enjoyed all of the ones that I’ve read so far – see below for links to the reviews for those. So what caused the delay in getting back to the series? Absoultely no idea. So, Kerry, sorry.
I really shouldn’t have – Kerry and I have something in common, according to the Q & A with the author at the back of the book. We both got into reading with massive help from the mighty duo of Terrance Dicks and Stan Lee. Neither of them mystery authors (the identity of the Green Goblin really doesn’t count) but addictive writers for a young impressionable reader. So it makes sense that I should enjoy the things that he writes.
And I definitely do. As I’ve said before, it’s so nice to read about a (mostly) normal police officer. Well, a normal police officer who manages to take part in virtually every important part of a complex investigation, but it would make a very odd book if she didn’t.
BTW, before I forget, you really should read these books in order. The killer from the first book is named a few times (although, iirc, he uses a pseudonym for most of that one). I’m sure Kerry is setting them up for a return bout but not this time.
Meanwhile, the plot here is a complex one that does a pretty good job of misdirecting the reader. The killer, at the end of the day, was pretty obvious to me, but there’s a lot going on here that means that you really need to work the complete story out to feel that you’ve beaten the writer. Despite spotting whodunit (and it’s a pretty old trick), it’s still an extremely satisfying read and well worth your time. Highly Recommended.
This review is Book 6 of my attempt at Readathon UK for the school where I work – ten books between 6th Feb and 5th March. If you want to make a donation to the children’s charities that they support, then please visit their Just Giving page.
Other Kerry Wilkinson reviews: