A family’s brutal murder and the abduction of a small child set off an intense manhunt in this absorbing new thriller.
New Year’s Eve. Most of London is partying, and that’s why no one at a large mansion in one of the city's toniest areas hears the teenage boy begging for assistance. When the child, his parents, and sister are found slaughtered like cattle and his 4-year-old brother missing, Max Wolfe and the other members of the Major Incident Team are on the case. The crime scene is horrific, but the biggest concern is the missing child, Bradley. The victims are no ordinary family, either. Both parents were Olympic athletes (the mother a well-known beauty and heiress known as the “Ice Virgin”). DCI Pat Whitestone leads the team into a countrywide search for the missing boy, but despite hundreds of leads, nothing pans out. When Wolfe and another investigator track down infamous criminal Peter Nawkins, once imprisoned for killing a father and his three sons using a cattle gun like the one the killer employed on the dead family, things start going sideways. Wolfe, as a father and investigator, is both likable and worthy of the reader’s empathy, and the writing is top-notch, particularly when it comes to Wolfe’s relationship with his daughter, Scout. But there are also a few head-shaking moments, most notably when either Wolfe or his team repeatedly—and for reasons that are neither well-explained nor logical—get their collective rear ends kicked going into situations where they are both outnumbered and outgunned. It doesn’t take police experience to wonder why they didn’t simply wait for adequate backup.
Although Parsons' version of the Metropolitan Police make some puzzling mistakes in their investigation, the story is so absorbing that readers will forgive him the repeated bad judgment that leaves Wolfe's team limping.