Unreliable witnesses make a London detective’s job all but impossible in a missing person investigation that turns into a murder case.
Coming home early from a visit to her father and stepfamily, Chloe Emery discovers her home covered in blood and her mother missing. In Kate Emery’s absence, Chloe is put up by her best friend Bethany Norris’ family, which includes her parents, Oliver and Eleanor, and Oliver’s brother Morgan, who seems to have been staying there indefinitely. Oliver and Eleanor aren’t thrilled with their new houseguest. Not only is Chloe not a member of their ultrareligious sect, but she’s a little simple and at 18 doesn’t understand things that 15-year-old Bethany has no trouble grasping. Chloe’s cognitive shortcomings make it difficult for Metropolitan Police Detective Maeve Kerrigan (After the Fire, 2016, etc.) to get much out of her even though Maeve is known as a dab hand at extracting information from potential witnesses. The Norris family proves equally difficult for Maeve to deal with: Oliver is an overbearing father, Morgan a misogynistic bully, and Eleanor surprisingly unwilling to give Maeve access to Bethany, who may know more than she’s letting on. Maeve’s saving grace is that she’s been paired with DI Josh Derwent, a longtime friend who holds similar views on the best way to get the job done. Treating Kate’s disappearance as a murder makes it even harder for Maeve to investigate without a body, a problem that’s exacerbated when key witnesses go missing. Have they been taken, or are they running from the truth?
Casey’s hallmark ability to balance character development and suspense works well in a story sure to make readers squirm.