Review: Missing by Ed James

Tuesday 14 June 2016
Title: Missing
Author: Ed James
Publication Date: 30th May 2016
Pages: 344
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5
Purchase: Amazon
Meet PC Craig Hunter of Edinburgh's Local Policing Unit. Ex-Army. Ex-CID. Back in uniform.

A straightforward domestic call out twists out of control when 16-year-old schoolgirl Stephanie Ferguson alleges her stepfather, Doug Ferguson, has been abusing her. Hunter is soon working with DS Chantal Jain of Police Scotland’s Sexual Offences Unit to kick off the prosecution. But before a full statement can be taken, Stephanie disappears from hospital.

Now, Hunter must hunt the girl down before anyone else can. Where has Stephanie gone? Did she run? Or did someone take her? Will he get to the truth before it gets beaten into lies? Or before Stephanie is silenced for good…? And why does this case keep throwing up old enemies from Hunter’s past?

MISSING is a fast-paced police procedural, full of action and suspense that will grip you until its breathless conclusion.

One of my favourite people who I am yet to meet is Linda over at Crimeworm who is a huge supporter of my blog and I absolutely love reading her enthusiastic reviews. When she asked me to review Missing on behalf of Ed James, there was no way I could refuse. It was only when I was reading about the book on Amazon that I realised Ed was an author I had discovered on there a couple of months ago, and I remembered making a mental note at the time to one day check out his books.

Anyone who reads my blog will know that I enjoy what I call 'proper' police procedurals and that's exactly what Missing is. It focuses on the police inside and outside the squad room, and features a truly eclectic and brilliant mix of characters, all of whom are believable and very well-drawn characters that I can't wait to read about again. It's no secret that some of the best humour in crime fiction can be found in Scottish crime novels and here in Missing we are given a very dark storyline which is counterbalanced by some very clever, believable and timely humour. Our main character PC Craig Hunter certainly finds himself in some rather unlucky (but hilarious) situations and the banter between the team also lightens the mood throughout the book. In books like this I always enjoy those scenes that take place outside of the investigation, as it allows us to really get to know and understand the characters more.

As mentioned earlier, the storyline here isn't the easiest to read about but it's a truly compelling tale that I struggled to put down, and I do recommend picking this book up when you have a couple of hours spare to really dedicate to reading it. What was meant to be a routine call soon sees a teenage girl, Stephanie, making allegations that her stepfather has been abusing her. Statements are about to be taken when Stephanie disappears. It is soon up to Hunter to find the girl, and to work out whether she up and left of her own accord or whether more sinister forces are at play. One of the strongest parts of this book was in Ed's ability to keep me guessing as a reader, as I had no idea just what was to come as the book progressed.

The storyline here is handled very sensitively and is told in a believable way and it's a powerful and emotive storyline. That said, I was at times somewhat uncomfortable with how the mother spoke about what had happened to her daughter but then I thought about it and realised we don't know how we would react in a situation like Stephanie and her family have to face here and so how family members would react and speak I suppose is subjective and unique. I wondered where the story was going to go as I read, and any ideas I had about what had happened to Stephanie were just totally incorrect. Ed delivers some surprising and timely twists that were just brilliant and the story is at times more thought-provoking than a lot of crime novels. I found myself thinking about the characters even when I wasn't reading the book.

Missing moves along at a brilliant pace, and as said earlier it isn't a book you will want to put down. As I read I knew that Ed had been keeping the best till last and that was certainly the case with a thrilling finale. I didn't see half of it coming and I think that's why I enjoyed this book so much. I am incredibly excited at having finally discovered Ed's books and have no hesitation in recommending Missing to those who are also yet to discover his work. Ed is an extremely talented writer who has written the kind of procedural that I just love. It was also a refreshing change to read a book set in Edinburgh as almost all of the crime fiction I have read has taken place in Glasgow. I am already working out how to fit Ed's previous books into my TBR and I cannot wait to read more from Craig Hunter.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much, Shaun, for taking on a review at such short notice. Ed James is one of those authors who definitely should be better known - let's hope your review will help. A dose of the flu held me back, but I'm looking forward to finish it this week (unlike you, I can't read a book a day!)


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