This is a belter of a crime novel.
I really want to talk about the plot in tiny detail, but I won’t spoil the end for anyone. The answer is there and probably in the back of most readers minds, however Marwood has taken great care to distract from the truth with a maze of untruths and red herrings.
Although the main premise is about the disappearance of a three year old little girl, for me it was also about the victims of divorce and the destruction of families. The children, who fall to the side with each new marriage.
Such a common occurrence in divorce situations, the children from the first marriage are replaced with new children, ergo they become superfluous. They end up becoming either weapons between two parents or just forgotten, because one or the other parent doesn’t want to upset the new spouse.
It also tells the story, albeit subtly of the relationship between siblings and half-siblings. The feelings of responsibility, the blood bond and the frustration that arises between the feelings of abandonment by the parent and the jealousy the siblings feel towards each other. What a mess and trail of destruction some marriages leave behind them.
The story wanders seamlessly from 2004 to the present and back again, while the events of today are explained by the events and decisions of the past.
Now it might just be me, and it might just be my vivid imagination, but I thought Marwood sailed precariously close to an infamous real life crime. Not sure if that was on purpose or perhaps just the inspiration for the story. Regardless of the why, it still came quite close on a few occasions, and yet not close enough for anyone to point a finger and complain about it. Brilliantly done though.
Marwood has an eye for detail and holds a steady compelling pace throughout the tale.