They left four children safe upstairs.
They came back to three.
On the fifth floor of the White Caps Hotel, four young boys are left alone while their parents dine downstairs.
But when one of the parents checks on the children at midnight, they discover one of them is missing.
The boys swear they stayed in their room. CCTV confirms that none of them left the building. No trace of the child is found.
Now the hunt is on to find him, before it’s too late – and before the search for a boy becomes a search for a body…
This is the 3rd novel in a series but I hadn’t even noticed until I saw it mentioned on Goodreads after I finished reading it. Gone by Midnight scored highly for me both on the mystery and the wonderfully crafted characters. Oh and of course I want to mention the glorious setting of the Australian outback with its croc-infested creeks as well which made me feel happy as can be for once that I wasn’t actually there.
But the first thing that made me want to read this novel was the blurb of course. Seriously, how good does this sound?! Can you tell me how on earth a little 8-year old can disappear into thin air while he wasn’t caught on camera anywhere and the other kids claim they haven’t left the room at all? No? Me neither, no matter how hard I thought about it, and even while I was reading it, I still couldn’t come up with anything that could explain it or tell me where the child could be. If we’re talking about puzzling stories then this one’s definitely on top of the heap.
I adored Ted and Amanda, the two detectives on duty. They were such a contrasting pair, Ted rather straight-laced and Amanda quite the opposite, but they were both big personalities and so great together. They both have a lot of baggage though with lots of unpleasant memories in the last years. Ted was wrongfully accused of a crime and goes through life still having to bear sideway glances. He’s divorced and has to find his feet juggling the new case with the care for his 3-year old daughter Lillian who’s come to stay with him for a short time. Amanda is a tattooed biker woman – and the last woman on earth I’d ever associate with a fairy btw which makes it so funny she’s called a fairy – but she has a knack of seeing details others miss and I was in awe of her deducting skills. It took me a bit longer to warm up to her – she’s so extraverted and disliked by so many people so don’t hold it against me that I didn’t want to hand over the prize for Ms Sympathy either – but then I found out they were actually both huge animal lovers and that kind of sealed the deal. It’s so endearing to see how much Ted loved his dog Celine and his geese (he has named them all too and they’re even quite prominent in the novel) and Amanda is the crazy cat lady of service.
There’s a lot going on with both of them and their personal stories were as fascinating as the search for the missing child. There were a few red herrings thrown at me and even though I was rather sceptical of the plotline the author lead me to believe, I had only a feeling to go on and I didn’t have a clue how it would play out. I enjoyed the last part of the novel but I did feel that the transition to the final stage was pretty brusque and a big revelation was kind of dropped on me out of thin air. I was surprised yes, definitely, but also confused about the lead up to the revelation, as I didn’t see any good reason for it. Apart from that one gap, it had a great ending that made me really cross my fingers and hope for the best. The danger can come from where you least expect it ;-).
It wasn’t hard to see where the idea for the novel originated from and even though Ms. Fox changed quite a few details, the disappearance of Madeleine McCann immediately sprang to mind when the boy disappeared. She made it her own story though and put a great spin on it. I can definitely recommend this novel!
I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.