I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
At thirty-nine, Manon Bradshaw is a devoted and respected member of the Cambridgeshire police force, and though she loves her job, what she longs for is a personal life. Single and distant from her family, she wants a husband and children of her own. One night, after yet another disastrous Internet date, she turns on her police radio to help herself fall asleep—and receives an alert that sends her to a puzzling crime scene.
Edith Hind—a beautiful graduate student at Cambridge University and daughter of the surgeon to the Royal Family—has been reported missing for nearly twenty-four hours. Her home offers few clues: a smattering of blood in the kitchen, her keys and phone left behind, the front door ajar but showing no signs of forced entry. Manon instantly knows this case will be big—and that every second is crucial to finding Edith alive.
The investigation starts with Edith’s loved ones: her attentive boyfriend, her reserved best friend, and her patrician parents. As the search widens and press coverage reaches a frenzied pitch, secrets begin to emerge about Edith’s tangled love life and her erratic behavior leading up to her disappearance. With no clear leads, Manon summons every last bit of her skill and intuition to close the case, and what she discovers will have shocking consequences not just for Edith’s family, but for Manon herself.
This is an excellent novel and although I have learned to distrust book blurbs, I would have to say that Susie Steiner’s writing does remind me in some ways of Tana French. I am glad to see on Steiner’s author page that there appears to be a second DS Manon book in the works, and I will definitely read it.
The book mostly (but not completely) alternates between the POV of the missing young woman’s mother and that of DS Manon Bradshaw, one of the investigating officers. If you pay attention to the chapter headings, you know exactly who is narrating and it is not at all confusing.
Steiner is an excellent wordsmith, although she may not yet have the mastery that French displays in her writing, but I think she will get there, quickly. Just as important to me, the solution to the case was not obvious from the beginning and she managed to surprise me on several fronts. Steiner is willing to give us flawed and realistic characters, people that we maybe don’t like much, but whose circumstances compel the reader to keep going.