Gillian Green is looking after almost-two-year-old Benjamin Chivers. They’re in a shopping centre in Kent early one morning, but when she looks round, the boy has disappeared.
Meanwhile, Detective Inspector Roger Bailley is outside Meresbourne police HQ, waiting to enter the building in her first day as Robyn, after his doctor had said Roger needed to live as a woman before they could consider hormones or surgery.
But as DI Robyn Bailley meets Ben’s mum Melissa Chivers, it is clear Melissa does not approve of Robyn. Is this going to make finding this missing child even harder?
I enjoyed the book overall. I liked how it showed an interesting, new viewpoint from Robyn’s side and I really sympathised with the prejudice she had to deal with. The novel features a very good team of police with a wide range of realistic characters.
I also thought the title was very clever – the boy is gone, but so is DI Roger Bailey, replaced by Robyn.
The only slight criticism I have is that because the emphasis is on Roger becoming Robyn, the case of the missing boy seems to take somewhat of a backseat in the book. This means the pacing is slower than what you would expect from a crime or thriller book.
But I thought the book was very well-written, I loved the character of Robyn and would read more from the author.
How do you find a missing child when his mother doesn’t believe you have the right to even exist? When Detective Inspector Roger Bailley returns to work as Robyn, all she wants is to get on with the job she loves while finally being herself.
When three-year-old Ben Chivers is snatched from a shopping centre on her first day back at work, Robyn has to find Ben and herself as she deals with the reactions of her police colleagues, the media and her own daughter.
After nearly twenty years of being a committed corporate person, Alex Clare was made redundant. She had always enjoyed writing, studying fiction part-time through the Open University and managing to complete a novel in her commuting time, though no one had ever read it. After a period focusing on short stories, she wanted to try another novel.
Inspiration came from watching Parliament debate the Equal Marriage Act in 2013. Astounded by the intensity of feeling generated, she created a fictional world to explore some of the issues and attitudes.