In this final volume of Hughes’ (Redeeming Trust, 2017, etc.) mystery trilogy, a married couple’s infant son is kidnapped and police are convinced that they’re responsible for his disappearance.
Kingsley Ward—whose first husband was murdered in the series opener, A Matter of Trust (2017), and who was a target of the murderer’s accomplice in the second installment—has finally found happiness with Todd Hennings, the president of Keynote National Bank, in central Pennsylvania. Married less than a year, the couple just celebrated the christening of their first child. Kingsley returns to work at Keynote, where she runs the commercial lending department. The company has an excellent child care facility with extraordinary security precautions. However, someone still manages to get past all the cameras, witnesses, and protocols to abduct 10-week-old Billy Hennings. The cops believe that Kingsley and Todd are somehow involved, so the couple is left to their own devices to find their baby before it’s too late. As they investigate, Kingsley realizes that Billy may not have been the kidnapper’s original target. With the help of two friends—Barrie Brown and her significant other, Randall Shannon—Kingsley and Todd begin their own investigation, which soon has them flying around the country. Readers are privy to information that the protagonists lack, so the challenge isn’t in understanding the motives for the kidnapping—it’s in figuring out how the plan was executed, and here, some intriguing twists emerge. Hughes constructs a meticulous scheme that involves many different players, and she employs solid description and engaging dialogue to keep the narrative moving along. Although the book is part of a series, it works just fine as a stand-alone. Kingsley is a well-defined character, even without the recaps of earlier novels, although Todd is relatively underdeveloped. Barrie and Randall’s relationship provides entertaining moments of light relief from the frightening primary storyline.
An engrossing read that’s built around a chilling premise.