Friday, September 22, 2017

Little Girl Lost (DI Robyn Carter #1), by Carol E. Wyer (author), Emma Newman (narrator)

Bookouture, January 2017

DI Robyn Carter is just about to return to work on the police force after an extended leave following the death of her husband and unborn child. During her leave, she's worked temporarily with a friend, Ross Cunningham. He's a former police officer who now runs a private detective agency. For her last case with him, he hands her a woman, Mary Matthews, whose husband has disappeared. There's no apparent reason, and also no apparent evidence of foul play, and initially very little to go on.

There's a significant difference in age between Mary Matthews and her vanished, much younger husband, music teacher Lucas Matthews. It turns out Lucas was estranged from both his father Paul, a former movie star who retired suddenly some years back, and his sister Natasha, who dropped out of sight long ago.

In parallel with the story of Carter's investigation of the Matthews disappearance, in alternating chapters we get the story of a young girl, Alice, who briefly lived in Paul Matthews' home, when her mother was engaged to him. The wedding never happened.

And Abigail Thorn, whose connection to these two stories is at first not obvious, is finding her life is coming apart piece by piece. Her friends start doing odd things. She starts hearing voices at home when there's no one there but herself and her baby, Isabelle. She's getting strange messages, emails and texts that disappear before she can show them to anyone. Phone calls, too, from a strange, robotic voice.

A voice that tells her that her beloved husband Jackson is having an affair with one of two best friends, Zoe.

A voice that tells her that keeping secrets is dangerous, and that she has to tell the truth about her past or her life will be completely destroyed.

On top of all this, a seemingly minor irritant, a woman named Rachel has suddenly become a part of her life and is pushing crystal therapy and care of her personal aura as the solution to her problems.

Lucas Matthews has disappeared. Paul Matthews has died in an unfortunate accident, tripping, falling, and hitting his head while running in the woods near his property. Evidence emerges that Lucas might be a pedophile.

Oh, and no one can find Alice Cliffords, who was apparently the cause of the breakup between Paul Matthews and her mother, Christine.

The Matthews disappearance soon becomes the first case Carter is working officially on her return to the police force, and the tangle of events becomes stranger and stranger. I reached conclusions about what was going on and who was doing it several times, and kept changing my mind as Wyer quite effectively kept me guessing. She didn't disappoint with the resolution, either.

Carter, Ross, Carter's boss Mulholland, and Carter's own unique family, the ex-wife and daughter of her own late husband, Davis, as well as others, all emerge as compelling individuals I look forward to getting to know better.

A very satisfying mystery. Recommended.

I bought this audiobook.