3/5 stars. I like to try something from an author I haven’t read before and the opening signalled a dark and complex crime story about child trafficking. It turned out to be a book of two halves.
The story is certainly complex with several strands, including a past case that links to the current death of a local prostitute, a paedophile ring masterminded by The Matchmaker, and a hint of corruption within the police. All that’s missing is DI Maguire, yet another detective suffering a recent personal trauma, and rivalries within the investigation team.
That’s a lot to cram in, which may account for my struggle with the first half of the story where Maguire’s problems seem to overshadow the crimes being investigated. The two things that stick in my mind are the endless cups of coffee drunk in the incident room and repeated references to Maguire’s dreadlocks, which I took on board with the very first mention. He was also portrayed as the only detective who could realistically solve the case, which doesn’t seem to say much for the rest of his colleagues.
But I’m glad I stuck with it as the story improved In the second half when the investigation built up a head of steam. The characters came to life as the police homed in on the criminals. The pace, tension and excitement increased, culminating in a dramatic climax and the uncloaking of The Matchmaker. I couldn’t quite follow the action in the final chase, which was revealed twice from different perspectives, but that’s only a minor niggle in what was a satisfying ending.
I applaud the author for tackling a disturbing subject that most of us would prefer not to confront. The calm, chilling evil of The Matchmaker and his gang felt frighteningly plausible, and I suffered every agony of Beth and her family when her daughter, Molly, was abducted.
What is the link between the abduction of a little girl and a dead prostitute?
When the body of a prostitute is found, followed by the discovery of children locked in an attic, DI Gus McGuire is handed the case. But what at first appears to be a simple murder soon turns into an international manhunt for the members of a twisted child trafficking ring.
McGuire who is suffering with his own emotional problems, must pick his way through the web of deceit and uncover the truth in time before the body count rises.
Can McGuire identify The Matchmaker before it’s too late? And can he trust those he is working with?