Lara Arden is twenty-six years old. Twenty years earlier, she had been on a train with her mother and her older sister Georgia (then aged eight) when her mother went to the buffet carriage and never came back. Now Lara is a police officer on the Isle of Wight and has just encountered a similar mystery – a young boy on a train, whose mother has apparently disappeared.
A spree of murders then distracts Lara, as she has to try to solve apparently random cases. But there is one thing in common – they all leave children alone.
I got into this book straight away. It’s very well-written with good-sized chapters which lead you into reading on and trying to work out what’s happening and why. The pacing is very good – fast enough to hold your interest, but not too fast that you get confused or lost. There is a lot going on, but strands are woven together as you read on and I never found it confusing or too complex.
Lara is a great character and very interesting. You immediately feel sorry for her because of her traumatic past, but also admire her for what she has achieved since then.
I enjoyed the diverse cast of characters, it felt very representative and there was a great range of ages, people from different countries, sexualities, colours of skin, etc.
The setting of the Isle of Wight was a good choice too. As it’s an island, it already has a claustrophobic feel to it, but also a place I think of as very pretty. Of course, this kind of book sees beyond the scenery and into the darkest corners of society.
I always love a good crime/thriller book and this is a great example. The murders are well-described and often disturbing, but I didn’t find the book too gory. The police procedural aspect feels authentic and the police team is full of engaging characters such as DS Jordan Banks who is trying to sort out his errant teenage daughter whilst doing his job, but also has his own flaws.
Overall, I really enjoyed this novel and look forward to reading more of his work soon.