- Author: Kerry J Donovan
- Published: November 2013 by Human Vertex Publications
- Category: Crime, Thriller, Suspense
An empathetic detective and his Swedish-born colleague hunt for the abductors of a teenage schoolgirl—a police procedural set in England and France.
When fourteen-year-old Hollie Jardine fails to return home from school, her terrified parents call the police.
Another excellent instalment in the DCI Jones Casebook series. When young Hollie Jardine goes missing DCI David Jones, head of the Midlands Police Serious Crime Unit, is on the case along with his partner DC Alexandra Olganski. Jones is near to retirement, but his determination to find Hollie is absolute, although he finds missing child cases very difficult. His friend and colleague, Phil Cryer, has a daughter who could look just like Hollie when she reached her teens and that makes the case hit home even more so.
Luckily CCTV caught some footage and he and Alex risk more than their jobs when they follow Hollie’s trail over the channel. What they discover there defies description. Both their lives will be affected.
Hollie has been groomed and persuaded to go away for a holiday by the loathsome Ellis Flynn. When Hollie arrives to meet Flynn and sees another man with him she becomes suspicious, having second thoughts, and is taken by force. From the start the indication is there’s a paedophile ring at work. These characters are portrayed brilliantly, even though they’re hateful, and the beginning of the story, coming from Flynn’s point of view is chilling. More so because it’s a scenario that could be all too real.
The time on his Rolex knock-off showed her as fifteen minutes late.
He kept the pleasant smile – the one he practised in the bathroom mirror – pasted in position.
Two long weeks he’d spent working this one, It hadn’t been difficult. He’d been charming, attentive, drawing her to where she accepted the belly button piercing. It was yet another way to bind her to him. A couple more trinkets and she’d be ready, hooked.
Hollie, the one Flynn thought of only as ‘The Hottie’, had hesitated at first when he suggested a belly piercing would look wonderful on her softly rounded stomach.
The procedural was fascinating to follow and David Jones is a compassionate and very likeable protagonist, regardless of his almost OCD tendencies. He hates mess anywhere but most especially in his own space. A sad past is hinted at and with his time as a father cut cruelly short, he has a solitary air, although certain of his colleagues are good friends. Kerry Donovan has given a good balance between the logistics of working the case and the individuals’ thoughts and feelings. It’s a multilayered story with a great cast of characters. I really enjoyed the interaction and working relationship between Jones and his French counterpart, Colonel Jean-Luc Coué, a great character. Both of them are firmly on the same page regarding the abduction, and worse, of young girls and the way the offenders should be dealt with.
This is a compelling and tension filled read, the timelines at the beginning of each chapter adding to the ‘race against time’ feel of the storyline. Just when it looks like the case is almost wrapped up, the plot escalates again with a completely unexpected twist. Then again, when it seems like everything has been in vain, another surprise. There’s one question left unanswered for which I have my own, hopefully right, guess. I’ll have to wait and see!
Reviewed for Rosie Amber’s book review team and based on a digital copy from the author. This does not affect my opinion or the content of my review.
About Kerry J Donovan
Internationally bestselling fiction author, Kerry was born in Dublin. He spent most of his life in the UK, and now lives in the heart of rural Brittany with his wonderful and patient wife, Jan. They have three children and four grandchildren (so far), all of whom live in England. An absentee granddad, Kerry is hugely thankful for the advent of video calling.
The cottage is a pet free zone (apart from the field mice, moles, and red squirrels).
Kerry earned a first class honours degree in Human Biology, and has a PhD in Sport and Exercise Sciences. A former scientific advisor to The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, he helped UK emergency first-responders prepare for chemical attacks in the wake of 9/11. This background adds a scientific edge to his writing. He is also a former furniture designer/maker.