More than 20 years after the unsolved disappearance of a five-year-old London girl, a little boy, also five, is abducted, re-opening old wounds for a police detective and raising questions for a female psychiatrist—especially after it is revealed that the prime suspect, a client of hers, has an identical twin brother of whom he is unaware.
This is the first installment in a series of psychological thrillers by French, pen name for the bestselling husband and wife duo of Nicci Gerrard and Sean French (Land of the Living, 2003, etc.). The appealing, strong-willed protagonist is Freida Klein, a single woman in her 40s whose most intimate relationship is with the shadowy city—notwithstanding a romantic fling that tempts her for a few seconds to leave London. She has more than enough to distract her from her private life. Her new patient, Alan, is a miserable soul who is so desperate for a son he dreams of making off with a boy who is the spitting image of the missing tyke. Detective Chief Inspector Karlsson is leery of Freida's concerns, and resists new tests, but he slowly comes to value Freida's theories. Though a small leap of faith is required in the end, the surprises and suspense never let up. The book provides fascinating psychological insight. And the supporting characters, ranging from a droll Polish laborer to Freida's disheveled mentor, are warm, intelligent and provide just the right amount of humor. Off-the-beaten-path London is also a great character.
An absorbing psychological thriller that will leave you anticipating the next installment.