Belinda Bauer returns us to Shipton, the setting on Exmoor of her first two chilling novels. Someone abducts a girl from her father’s car, leaving a note that says “You don’t love her.” At first the police assume the kidnapping is for money or revenge against the girl’s apparently wealthy father, but more abductions follow. The small town, which has been ravaged by serial killers twice, is horrified.
Constable Jonas Holly is still on leave following the murder of his wife Lucy the year before. He will soon be returned to duty, although Inspector Reynolds is skeptical of the help he can provide.
Steven Lamb, almost a victim in the first novel, thinks he knows who murdered Lucy Holly. As more children disappear, he becomes worried about his younger brother Davey, as well he might. Unknown to their mothers, Davey and his pal Shane have been running around the countryside while their families think they are at each other’s houses.
Reynolds and his team are at a loss. They hope the children are alive but can’t figure out where they’re being held, despite having covered the moor with heat-seeking technology from a helicopter.
Bauer’s thrillers keep me on the edge of my seat. Her novels are well written and suspenseful, her characters complex. If you like dark thrillers, you can’t do much better.