The hole they dug was not deep. A white flour bag encased the little body. Three small faces watched from the window, eyes black with terror.
The child in the middle spoke without turning his head. ‘I wonder which one of us will be next?’
When a woman’s body is discovered in a cathedral and hours later a young man is found hanging from a tree outside his home, Detective Lottie Parker is called in to lead the investigation. Both bodies have the same distinctive tattoo clumsily inscribed on their legs. It’s clear the pair are connected, but how?
The trail leads Lottie to St Angela’s, a former children’s home, with a dark connection to her own family history. Suddenly the case just got personal.
As Lottie begins to link the current victims to unsolved murders decades old, two teenage boys go missing. She must close in on the killer before they strike again, but in doing so is she putting her own children in terrifying danger?
Lottie is about to come face to face with a twisted soul who has a very warped idea of justice.
Fans of Rachel Abbott, Karin Slaughter and Robert Dugoni will be gripped by this page-turning serial killer thriller, guaranteed to keep you reading late into the night.
The Missing Ones is Patricia Gibeny’s debut novel. I was intrigued by the striking cover and the premise and I couldn’t wait to get stuck in.
The novel begins with a disturbing scene in which two children witness the burial of a dead body, one whispers to the other: “I wonder which one of us will be next?” What an opener! In the present day, Detective Inspector Lottie Parker is investigating the murder of Susan Sullivan, whose body has been discovered in a cathedral. She takes on the case alongside her colleague, Detective Boyd. There is plenty of sexual tension between the pair, after a short fling with Boyd a few months ago, Lottie wants to put that memory to bed; but it seems as though some of her feelings do not want to stay silent.
Lottie is still grieving for her husband who died a short while after being diagnosed with cancer and she is trying to raise her children whilst juggling her career and her family life which doesn’t appear to be working out well. On top of the investigation she has to think about, Lottie is also worrying about her eldest daughter, Katie who is beginning to slip off the rails.
When Susan’s body is discovered in the cathedral I did think that this novel could very much be something to do with the Church. The book brought back memories of watching the film Philomena but the story line here is much darker.
I loved how the mystery deepened in the book, pulling me further into the story. I did find the story a little bit slow to begin with but once the investigation really gets going and we learn more about the murdered woman’s character I found the book impossible to put down. When a second body turns up, Lottie is certain that there is something connecting these victim’s pasts which is behind the reason as to why they have turned up dead in the present. But as she delves deeper into the victim’s pasts she might be putting her own family at risk.
There are definitely some dark themes in the book and some upsetting scenes which I did find a little disturbing. This is a book that certainly isn’t for the faint hearted.
An intelligent and startling thriller, I really enjoyed reading this book. Lottie Parker is a character who I would like to hear more from and I’m excited to see what Patricia does next. I highly recommend! Thank you to Bookouture and Netgalley for providing me with a review copy.
Publication date: 16th March 2017
Print length: 518 pages