What’s it about?
Beneath the water the body sank rapidly. Above her on dry land, the nightmare was just beginning.
When Detective Erika Foster receives a tip-off that key evidence for a major narcotics case was stashed in a disused quarry on the outskirts of London, she orders for it to be searched. From the thick sludge the drugs are recovered, but so is the skeleton of a young child.
The remains are quickly identified as seven-year-old Jessica Collins. The missing girl who made headline news twenty-six years ago.
As Erika tries to piece together new evidence with the old, she must dig deeper and find out more about the fractured Collins family and the original detective, Amanda Baker. A woman plagued by her failure to find Jessica. Erika soon realises this is going to be one of the most complex and demanding cases she has ever taken on.
Is the suspect someone close to home? Someone is keeping secrets. Someone who doesn’t want this case solved. And they’ll do anything to stop Erika from finding the truth.
Wait what, where are Peterson and Moss? That question immediately popped into my head. I kind of forgot how The Night Stalker, the second novel in the series, ended and was surprised when I read that Erika was no longer working with her old crew and in her old precinct. A big change from before, her new environment and job description involves going after drug dealers. She feels she could make more of a difference going after murderers though so when small remains are found in a quarry she wants her old superior Marsh to put in a good word for her to be involved. It’s not surprising that she gets the lead role in this cold case.
The identity of the child is quickly established and turns out to be little Jessica Collins, aged 7 when she disappeared on her way to a birthday party of a friend in the same street. The only suspect they had 25 years before was Marksman, a registered paedophile who was living in a safeway house only a couple of metres from Jessica’s house at the time, and who had his eye on the little girl before she disappeared.
Erika assembles a team to help her investigate and old and new characters work together in this novel. They search the quarry where she was found and Erika and Peterson also visit the previous detective of the case Amanda. Amanda fills her days drinking from morning to night and she’s still regretting that she couldn’t arrest Marksman. After Erika’s visit though she’s energised and tries to go over everything she remembers about the case, in an attempt to find something new to brake the case open. What both Amanda and Erika don’t know though is that they are being spied on very closely. Robert Bryndza even gives us the name of the person who is watching and following them but it remains a big mystery who this person is and how he fits into the whole picture. New evidence comes to light, a new train of thought is considered and makes them double their efforts. But what about this mysterious person who doesn’t want them to succeed?
I enjoyed his previous books so much that it automatically generates the greatest expectations for every new book he now writes. And he did write another great story, with a very engaging and entertaining plotline but I do have some thoughts about the characters featured for the first time.
First of all, I really felt Erika was unsympathetic in this book. She snaps, shouts and even tells a superior officer, Marsh, to iron his shirt. She’s almost a different person to me in this novel than before and that just doesn’t feel right. She was feisty yes, but never this harsh. The other thing I missed is a bit more background story of her sister. There’s definitely a possible story there and I was kind of hanging on for the details and to get a complete picture of the what and why she suddenly decided to reach out to Erika but it never came. I was also kind of sad that one of my favourite characters in the previous novels, Moss, is barely in the picture in this one and there is little interaction although I was hoping it would really be all about this awesome threesome again. I did like the whole Peterson-Erika attraction and how that was handled and I hope to see more of them in the next book.
So I can conclude that he still is a great author to me but out of the three books in the series so far, this is the one that I like the least and I’ll give it 3.5 stars this time. I’m still anticipating a novel about the events leading up to her husband’s death and I hope this is something he’ll consider writing about in the future.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.