A lean and very sharp crime story. A baby is taken from a creche and Detective Inspector Tom Mariner finds himself leading a high profile investigation instead of heading out on leave. The act appears random at first, it becomes clear that there had to have been a considerable degree of planning. Animal Rights activists are identified as probable suspects, then the baby is returned. The case appears to have come to a happy ending when there is a murder and the true scope of the crime slowly comes into view. The reveals are very nicely paced, the cast are credible and the strands of the plot are steadily and very effectively wrought together to a very satisfactory conclusion.
Chris Collett writes with tremendous economy, there are multiple strands within the story, they are introduced and maintained with great precision and excellent timing. The cast lively and engaging, the extended lives of some of the characters is very nicely handled without diminishing the focus or impetus of the plot. DI Tom Mariner is a thoughtful and very capable character, competent and credible and lacking the cliched problems of a lot of police officers in crime fiction. His private life is nicely handled and gives him depth as a character.
The plot construction is first class, the strands are all bound up in a way that is both logical and very credible. The human cost of crime and the enforced degradation of human trafficking and prostitution is made clear with fierce and understandable passion that help ignite the story. Gripping and thoughtful.