A Map of the Dark by Karen Ellis
|A Map of the Dark by Karen Ellis|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: The first in a new series: it's a good engaging read although perhaps a little predictable.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 320/10 hours||Date: January 2018|
|Publisher: Mulholland Books|
FBI Agent Elsa Myers finds missing children. There's a link back to her childhood here, as she might not have been missing but she was certainly lost. Her mother was abusive and her father preferred not to do anything about it: there might have been a bit of pretence but there was no protection. All that should be in the past, although Elsa is still self-harming when under pressure, but her father is dying of lung cancer and although she would have hoped for some personal time with him, her boss has allocated her to a new case, that of 17-year-old Ruby Haverstock, and you can't waste any time when children go missing.
Elsa's sister, the newly divorced Tara, is also at the hospital along with her daughter, Mel, and this is going to cause problems for Elsa. Mel has to go to summer school and it's most convenient if she stays with Elsa, but Mel can't resist the chance to get involved in the hunt for Ruby, despite Elsa's insistence that she should stay well away. The relationship with her sister is occasionally strained: it goes back to their childhood when Elsa was abused but Tara wasn't, until just before their mother's death. Elsa always seems to be on the back foot in the muddled relationships of her family as she tries to fit in hospital visits with working a demanding case. It's not long before it's evident that this isn't just a simple case of a girl having run away.
Myers is linked with an NYPD detective, Lex Cole and the combination is a good one, which is as well, as this seems to be the first book in a series. Cole came off the page well, but I was in two minds about Myers. As a victim of similar abuse as a child (affectionate one moment, but with unpredictable eruptions of violence) I empathised with her: what happens stays with you and it's very difficult to forgive the other parent for having done nothing to stop what was happening. I did feel though that the book was perhaps a little too indulgent in the extent to which it went back to the childhood problems.
If you put that to one side though, the book is well-paced and even though it was fairly obvious what was going to happen to Myers and her relatives from fairly early on I still found the pages turning very quickly and I finished the book over a couple of days. I'd certainly be happy to read more books in the series. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
If this book appeals then you might also enjoy Bonfire by Krysten Ritter.
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