I had to stop reading this afternoon much to my dismay.
I was on the edge of my seat, eager to know what would happen next when I had to leave for work.
Right now there are three possible abductors. There is Lucas, the teacher assistant, who has been arrested for questioning when the police see some CCTV footage of his car crossing the bridge towards the woods where Ben went missing. Lucas admits to lying about his alibi because he was afraid the police would think he had anything to do with Ben’s disappearance. In my opinion, I don’t think this man is the culprit.
Then there is Nicky, who is even more strange at this stage. Her husband visits the police and tells them that Nicky hasn’t been living in the family home for a month. Apparently, she left her husband and their daughters after a row. The disagreement was about Nicky’s desire for a new baby. According to her husband, Nicky is obsessed with having a son who looks just like her late brother Charlie. When he told her that they should reconsider the baby, she got so upset that she packed a bag and left the family home and her daughters. I think this shows that Nicky is not mentally stable. Was she so obsessed with her idea of having a son who looks like Charlie that she is capable of kidnapping her own nephew? Jim also finds a gap in her alibi. According to Nicky, she was in the food festival, but nobody remembers seeing her in the afternoon, and her husband claims that she called him via skype from the cottage that afternoon. I am not sure that Nicky is the one who abducted Ben. Even though she is clearly not mentally stable, I think that she loves her sister and I doubt she would harm her this way.
And the last suspect comes from Rachel. The night before she went online and out of curiosity she logged onto a game that Ben used to play. When she did so, she found that one of the avatars Ben uses was active, so Rachel is sure that somehow Ben has access to the Internet and was playing his game. When she goes to tell the police, she feels they don’t really take her seriously. I wonder if Rachel is right. When I read that part I thought that maybe it was Nicky who had Ben hidden in the cottage, and it was not odd if she let him play. That’s what I thought.
There is a new suspect now. When Rachel goes to tell the police about her conviction that Ben is alive and well after the episode with the computer game, she sees the boy’s teacher, Miss May at the station as she had been called to make a statement about Lucas. It is when both women are driven to their respective homes by one of the police officers that Rachel and Miss May talk. It is something that Miss May says that makes Rachel suspect. Miss May mentions nunny, Ben’s old, ragged blanket that he always sleeps with, and Rachel knows that he would never tell anybody about nunny as it was something that made him embarrassed. So Rachel thinks it is Miss May who can have Ben. So when the woman is leaving, she makes her drop her bag, and she takes the woman’s keys surreptitiously. When the policeman leaves Miss May home, Rachel tells him about her suspicion, but it is clear that the man is just patronising her. So when he is gone, Rachel takes a knife and runs back to Miss May’s address. I wonder what will happen. I think Miss May’s attitude is quite strange, and I didn’t really like it when she was first questioned and told that episode when Ben hurt his arm and Rachel didn’t take him seriously. Her words clearly contrasted with the image Rachel had of her, always supporting and helpful. However, I have my doubts about her involvement. Why would Miss May want to kidnap or harm Ben? Why Ben in particular? She has a class full of children, so why would she want to do this to Ben?
I am really clueless how the book will finish. I am afraid that after everything that Rachel has gone through, Ben will turn up dead. That would be extremely sad. I think in the prologue Rachel mentioned that it is a year since she last saw her son. At least, that is what I think she meant. Does it mean that the crime was never solved? Or was Ben murdered? And what about Jim? What caused him to be in this state a year later?