Rhodes places her go-to protagonist, Alice Quentin, in peril again in this third novel in the series.
When another abduction involving young girls takes place in London, Metropolitan Police DCI Don Burns once again turns to diminutive but spunky psychologist Quentin for help. The killings mimic the methods employed by another killer, Louis Kinsella, who has been locked up for 17 years. But while police search for 10-year-old Ella Williams, Kinsella, who is housed in the Laurels—a maximum security psychiatric prison that holds the worst of the worst—the copycat killer continues to abduct children. Quentin, who went to the Laurels to research a book, reluctantly finds herself at the center of yet another investigation involving Burns. Although Quentin now realizes she's attracted to the burly DCI, she also sees that he’s intimately involved with a beautiful, cold-as-ice fellow officer, DI Tania Goddard. As she tries to pry information out of the vicious killer, Quentin finds herself drawn into the internal staff friendships and rivalries at the Laurels and repelled that Kinsella reminds her so much of her own father, an abusive drunk. Eventually she realizes it's no accident that the latest victim has been left on the steps of London’s Foundling Museum, but the motive still eludes her. While Rhodes’ previous efforts fell short of memorable, this entry shows both promise and sharpening skills. She keeps the action moving at a good clip and peppers it with plausible suspects but continues to render Alice less than sympathetic by virtue of her questionable judgment. Despite a series of events that a normal person, much less someone who works with vicious murderers, would report, Alice squirrels away that information and—all too typically—puts herself squarely in the killer’s bull’s eye.
A giant forward leap when it comes to plot, but the prose is weighed down with an avalanche of similes and odd verb choices.