When a 5-year-old boy is killed in a hit-and-run accident, the police find themselves with a sensational case and one woman discovers an emptiness that she may never fill in Mackintosh’s engrossing debut.
When Jacob dies on a Bristol, England, road after letting go of his mother’s hand as they walk home from school on a wet and nasty day, the driver of the car that hit him keeps on going. His death spurs DI Ray Stevens and his colleagues Kate, a new addition to the Criminal Investigations Division, and Stumpy, a longtime detective, to pull out all the stops looking for the killer. Meanwhile, Jenna, haunted by the boy's death, pulls up stakes and moves to the tiny coastal town of Penfach, Wales. She’s planning not to start over as much as simply get by, finding refuge in a small cliffside cottage and spending her time trying to erase memories of the terrible incident; she starts to return to some semblance of a real life, with a dog and a slowly developing relationship. Back in Bristol, the very married Ray finds himself drawn to Kate, while his wife, former fellow cop Mags, suspects there may be something going on. Using multiple points of view, Mackintosh, a former U.K. deputy inspector, delivers an accurate portrayal of a typical police investigation, including the tedious processes law enforcement officers often use to identify and track down witnesses. Mackintosh’s excellent writing features both memorable characters and a compelling portrayal of the eccentricities of small-town life in a close-knit community. But the author’s real skill is in the way she incorporates jaw-dropping, yet plausible, plot twists into the already complex storyline.
Mackintosh has written the kind of book that sticks in the reader’s mind well after the final sentence.