RATING: VERY GOOD
I really enjoyed the last stretch of the novel. It starts with Lucy visiting Robbie and Gavin Duffy. Lucy shows Gavin the photograph from the CCTV footage in the restaurant of the man, and Gavin claims he has never seen him. When Lucy and Robbie are left together, they exchange Christmas present, share some wine, and spend the night together.
When they wake, Gavin is gone, so they decide to go after him. Robbie volunteers to start the car and drive as Lucy drank more than him the night before. As Lucy is getting ready, she hears an explosion. As she runs outside, she sees her car in a terrible state and Robbie is lying on the seats. Not without effort does she manage to get him out of the car. Thankfully, Robbie is only injured and taken to the hospital.
I like it when Lucy’s mother turns up, all concerned, and there is a nice moment when Lucy lets her guard down and allows her mother to comfort her. After the bomb blast, Lucy returns to the PPU unit, and she gets the list from one of the girls’ school, and she realises that the event that was common on the dates previous to their disappearance was the school photograph. Lucy checks with the photographers, and she finds out that apart from the owner and his daughter, there is another man who has access to the photographs of the students: Peter Bell, who runs the web page. This is not the first time Lucy hears the name. The man was in the restaurant when Kay was arrested, and his name was also mentioned in relation with Louisa Gant, the girl who went missing ten years ago and whose body was discovered on Carlin’s farm. Peter was Louisa’s best friend back then.
Louise tells Burns about her discoveries and drives to Bell’s house. The neighbour tells her that she heard some loud voices and thumps the night before, so Lucy forces her way out. Burns arrives there, and at first he forbids her and Cooper to check Bell’s computers as they need a warrant. However, they get the thumbs up when Lucy discovers all the evidence about the photographers and there is a new girl missing, Annie Marsden, the student from the prologue.
Cooper discovers that the photographer’s web site has a link to someone called darknet, which is protected by password. Cooper manages to decode the thing, and they have access to all the pictures that Bell took of Sara and Karen. Using one of the pictures, they guess the location, so the police rush there. In the house there are underage girls and men, and in one of the bedrooms she discovers Gavin with a girl. Lucy gets upset, and Gavin tells her that it was Tony, one of the youths in the gang, who planted the bomb under her car. Peter Bell and Tony have taken Annie in their car, and Lucy and Burns plan to wait for them at the beginning of the road. They finally got them, but Tony and Peter run away. Lucy runs after Peter, and she finally manages to reduce him after a terrible fight in the river.
In the end Lucy discovers that Jackie Logue is Peter Bell’s father. Her mother tells her that Peter Bell did kill Louisa Gant but the police turned a blind eye at the time because his father was important in the negotiations with the police. So Peter Bell was help to abscond with his mother. Peter Bell returned from Belfast and constructed his net of paedophiles, and the reason why they killed Karen is when a newspaper uncovered that she was the daughter of Eoghan Harkin, the criminal.
A few days later we see Lucy wait for Eoghan as he leaves prison, and then on New Year’s Eve Lucy and her mother talk. She tells her that Jackie Logue has been found dead, and she knows that Lucy talked to Eoghan and gave the information about Jackie Logue in connection with the death of his daughter. I don’t think Lucy was right to do that, and Wilson doesn’t upbraid her, just tells her that when she assigned her to PPU, she wanted to save her from the politics in the police, but apparently, she is still involved and it seems Lucy is more like her than she is ready to admit.
Apart from that, Lucy goes to see Robbie in hospital. Despite their night together, they both admit that they are not sure about their relationship, so it is not clear where they stand at the end of the novel. Besides, Lucy has clearly shown an interest in David Cooper, the technical expert, and she even hid the fact that she had a boyfriend from him. I wonder if Robbie and David will turn up in the next instalment of the series.
Great book! I am going to read the next two books right away. I find Lucy a fascinating character.