Seven teenagers go camping and only six return. A massive search
doesn’t turn up Aurora, at fourteen, the youngest of the group. Thirty years
later, her body is found in a hollow
beneath a tree along with remnants of a stash of drugs.
The timeline alternates
between current and the night of the murder. Point-of-view shifts
between cops and campers, both present and thirty years prior. The author does
a good job of switching time and POV, and I didn’t find it confusing.
Lodge paints good pictures of each of her many characters—four
police and the six campers (seven with Aurora)—each character unique. She even
adds a couple of extras into the mix. It may be a little overload on character
She keeps us guessing about the murderer, but I did have an
idea of who it was early in the story. The plot could be a little slow for some
readers, but I found the details of police procedural interesting.
A good first novel. I look forward to the next book in the
series with DCI Jonah Sheens.
The Taskforce characters don’t jell for me. Their dialog is
scattered and often makes no sense. You need to know their relationships with
each other and outsiders to follow the conversation. For a supposedly highly-skilled
group, they make a lot of mistakes and appear lucky to accomplish their tasks.
The best part of this thriller and the best character is a
thirteen-year-old girl, Amena—a Syrian refugee
and pickpocket in Monaco. She lifts an iPhone, which turns out to hold instructions
for obtaining a deadly weapon. Her adventures make the book readable.
The duo of authors Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child is
fascinating to me. They write seamlessly together. As an author, I am curious
about how the collaboration works. I’ve tried writing with others, and it
worked only one time. When it gelled, it was fruitful and fun, but you could
tell we were two authors. With Preston and Child, it feels like one.
Also intriguing—Agent Pendergast is still an interesting protagonist after eighteen books. I find it difficult to continue with the same characters into a second novel. I prefer starting with a new story and new characters.
Needless to say, excellent read.