9th October 2019. 4 stars.
When you read a Roy Grace novel, you’re guaranteed an intriguing plot with many strands and some neat twists to wrong foot you. This one also incorporates a change of pace as the kidnap of a boy brings time pressures that crank up the tension and work rate of the police.
I enjoy the detail of the police procedures and the way the author brings mundane, but essential legwork to life. The characters too are carefully crafted and believable, especially the bad guys who are particularly menacing. The story moved between the various bad guys, the victims and the police, keeping the tension high as time began to run out for the kidnap victim, leading to an exciting climax with Grace risking his life once more.
While all the author’s trademarks are present in the story, the change of pace affected the balance between the investigation and the backstory. The short time span meant there was little room for the running backstory of Grace’s family life, which was a bit of a shame. However, his ongoing battle with his boss, Cassian Pewe, reached new and enjoyable heights.
Kipp Brown, successful businessman and compulsive gambler, is having the worst run of luck of his life. He’s beginning to lose big style. However, taking his teenage son, Mungo, to their club’s big Saturday afternoon football match should have given him a welcome respite, if only for a few hours. But it’s at the stadium where his nightmare begins.
Within minutes of arriving at the game, Kipp bumps into a client. He takes his eye of Mungo for a few moments, and in that time, the boy is gone. Then he gets the terrifying message that someone has his child, and to get him back alive, Kipp will have to pay.
Defying instruction not to contact the police, Kipp reluctantly does just that, and Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is brought into investigate. At first it seems a straightforward case of kidnap. But rapidly Grace finds himself entering a dark, criminal underbelly of the city, where the rules are different and nothing is what it seems . . .