Missing persons specialist David Raker (Never Coming Back, 2014, etc.) goes hunting for a vanished copper and finds a whole lot more in this endless, deeply felt, un-put-downable thriller.
It’s never taken retired DCS Leonard Franks more than two minutes to walk outside to the end of his veranda, grab an armload of firewood, and return inside. So when he doesn’t come back this time, Ellie Franks is disquieted, then thoroughly alarmed when she looks around and sees no trace of him on the deserted Dartmoor landscape around their home. Franks’ daughter, DCI Melanie Craw, may have crossed swords with Raker in the past, but now she grits her teeth and hires him to find her father. The trail, which Raker must follow with no official assistance from Craw and none of her resources or access to official records, entangles him in a number of cases Franks worked for the Met’s Homicide and Serious Crime unit. But what does it have to do with the murder of Pamela Welland nearly 20 years ago? And what’s its connection to a series of flashbacks Weaver provides to a suicidal patient housed in an island psychiatric hospital? As Raker, repeatedly threatened by a sacked police officer who’s evidently pursuing the case for reasons of his own, sinks deeper and deeper into the mystery, he forms a definite idea of who’s responsible for the crimes at its heart. Yet even after he’s pretty sure whodunit, he hasn’t begun to understand the more profound questions of how and why.
Readers who despair after a hundred pages that all the plotlines Weaver has launched can’t possibly fit together are strongly urged to persist. They do indeed all fit together, and the monstrous pattern that emerges is as devastating as in any of Ross Macdonald’s nightmares.