PW Reviews 2020 June #5
Set in 1996, Billingham's superb 17th novel featuring Det. Sgt. Tom Thorne, a prequel to the series debut, 2001's Sleepyhead, focuses on the search for seven-year-old Kieron Coyne, who's kidnapped while playing in North London's Highgate Wood with his best friend, Josh Ashton. Though their mothers, Cat Coyne and Maria Ashton, are supervising nearby, a distraction makes Maria look away when Kieron is snatched. Josh is too distraught to give details of the kidnapper. Thorne and a team from the Metropolitan Police comb the area and interview possible witnesses. That Maria is divorced from Josh's father, and Cat's boyfriend, Kieron's father, is in prison for violent assault create complications. Suspects include Dean Meade, who claims to be Kieron's biological father, and the boy's teacher, Simon Jenner. Despite being embroiled in a nasty divorce, and contending with his antagonistic boss, Det. Insp. Gordon Boyle, Thorne tenaciously perseveres. Billingham adds tantalizing red herrings throughout. The book's masterly ending features a heart-stopping chase to apprehend Kieron's surprising kidnapper. Established fans and newcomers alike will be thrilled. Agent: David Forrer, Inkwell Management. (Aug.)
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