A tough loner private eye gets stuck investigating a case that he senses is tied to his terrible past.
Though her brother, Jason Phythian, hasn’t been missing long enough to justify a police report, Kara Geenan is desperate to find him. At least, that’s the story she tells PI Joel Sorrell when she hires him to take the case. For some reason, though, Sorrell’s not sure he trusts her. He’s the kind of guy whose life has taught him not to trust: his wife’s murder years ago was followed by his daughter Sarah’s disappearance. These traumas seem long in the past, and Sorrell has mainly put them out of his head, but when he’s attacked in his search for Jason, clues link the disappearance to his own troubled history. Soon he’s set off to his childhood home of Liverpool. Never mind that he has to leave just as things are heating up with his—well, do men who are rough around the edges have crushes? The change in scene corresponds to a change in the point of view, as Williams delves into the mind of a killer, though whom he’s killed is not entirely clear. While it’s not obvious whether this interlude is meant as an explanation for the murderer’s actions or just a look inside his sick mind, it’s clear that Sorrell’s going to have his hands full when the two finally meet. The take on motive doesn’t live up to Williams’ setup, which has a lot of moving parts.
The investigator's sections are often compelling, but the violence that accompanies the killer’s perspective doesn’t produce enough of a payoff.