Detective Inspector Jake Talbot has been having a bad year. He's spent most of it investigating a truly horrendous crime. It's finally resolved, but during it, his significant other, Claire, got tired of it and him and moved out, taking not just all her own things, but gifts she'd given him. It's now nearly Christmas, always a bad time of year for him because of a past family tragedy--but worse than ever this year, because of the Lassiter case and Claire's departure.
Not wanting to take his boss's advice and take time off, Jake focuses instead on what seems to be a minor case, easily resolved: A young man unrelated to the family has been attempting to visit Lillian Charteris in her care home, over the objections of her grandchildren, Peter and Melanie Charteris.
Yet the young man, Frankie Hayward, seems quite harmless, and Peter's reaction, in particular, seems out of all proportion and entirely too personal.
And the more questions Jake asks, the stranger things become. Hayward is smart, gentle, and definitely a little odd. The Charteris siblings are strangely unwilling to supply any real answers to what the connection between their family and Hayward may be. When Jake takes the rather elementary step of looking for more information on some of the people most directly involved, he discovers they have sealed files, courtesy of the Ministry of Defense.
He's stumbled onto something far more involved, confusing, and dangerous than he ever expected.
I want to say that I really liked this book, a lot more than I expected to. There are elements of both paranormal and time travel romance involved, and they're important, and they are both things that normally try my patience. Allen has handled them with skill and grace, and they added to the story, rather than being elements I just had to cope with.
Beyond that, the characters are interesting and complex. Several seem to be pretty obvious and straightforward, and prove to be far more than they initially appear. The pacing is very well done, and overall I just didn't want to stop reading. This book just did not want to be put down.
I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher.