|Gone by Midnight by Candice Fox|
|Reviewer: Zoe Morris|
|Summary: A five star thriller, this starts with a familiar premise but tells its own story with twists and turns that keep you in suspense to the final few pages.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 384||Date: January 2019|
|External links: Author's website|
In a hotel in Cairns, a group of 7 grown ups go for dinner, leaving their 4 children upstairs in a hotel room. When they return, only 3 children remain. Wow, that's all a bit…familiar. But the resemblance to the McCann case ends there, in many ways. Parents may be suspects and judgements may be made of their choice to leave the children unsupervised, but beyond that this is not the same story, not least because by the end of this book we do know once and for all what happened to poor Richie.
You might think this book would be about the parents, or about the police, but although both of those feature, this is someone else's tale. Ted, disgraced former cop turned PI, is the lead in this story as he and partner Amanda (with a past of her own) are brought in by the boy's parents to assist in the investigation. It's not great timing for Ted – his ex-wife has finally agreed to their young daughter coming for an extended stay with her father, and she's arriving TODAY – but something about this case means he can't just say no. There are simply too many loose ends. How did a boy physically vanish from a room with none of his friends noticing? Why is his mother acting so oddly? With CCTV saying he never left, exactly how many hiding places are there in a hotel, big enough to hide a body or (horrible thought) body parts?
This is a five star thriller of the highest order, and I felt like I was plunged right into the heart of the investigation, spotting clues, identifying persons of interest, fitting the pieces of the puzzle together. The story has drive, from the case of mistaken identity at the start right through to the final showdown, and the tropical Queensland setting adds a delicious background to the drama, from Ted's own home to the search sites.
There are some excellent characters in this story. The Police Chief may despise Amanda, but he cannot ignore her astute observations about the case and, in many cases, his staff. I felt the other boys were overlooked somewhat. Surely their memories of the night would be crucial to discovering who, or what, happened to Richie? Lots of people in this story have lots to lose, be it their jobs, their homes, custody of their children, the respect of their peers or even their lives. With so much at stake, it's not wonder Ted and Amanda feel they're not always getting the full story as people shut down and turn inwards in an attempt to protect themselves and their families.
I thought this story was excellent, and am delighted to know there are other books featuring the duo which I can now look up. They are not your conventional pair, but that's what makes them work. The story has such momentum, it's hard to put it down, and I was genuinely flummoxed by what had gone on in that hotel room until the very end. Highly recommended.
If you like Aussie mysteries, then The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty is an equally good read.
You can read more book reviews or buy Gone by Midnight by Candice Fox at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Gone by Midnight by Candice Fox at Amazon.com.
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