While you might not have heard of Holt’s work before, it’s a shoe in that you will with this latest release which pits a seriously disturbed child abductor against police inspector Adam Stubo. Opening with the disappearance of Emilie, a nine-year-old girl who took an unfortunate shortcut on her way home, followed a week later by a five-year-old boy turning up missing, the public is understandably upset. Things get even worse when the boy is found in his parent’s basement with a note stating, “You got what you deserved.”
Stubo attempts to gain the assistance of Johanne Vik, an FBI profiler who is busy trying to balance the demands of her special needs daughter, recover from a couple of bad relationships and track down the real story behind a 40 year old murder mystery that resulted in ruining a young man’s life. She has no interest in learning anything more about the cases or the perpetrator as it strikes too close to home, who wants to probe the workings of such a twisted mind when it is entirely possible that your child might be next?
Vik continues to turn Stubo down but with the abduction and reappearance of more children, she can’t help but lend whatever assistance she can. Travel to the U.S. results in Vik meeting with the wrongly convicted man yet she learns little from him, indeed, he reacts by fleeing so she can’t schedule a follow-up meeting. Returning home with nothing but impressions to show for her efforts, Vik learns the killer has struck again. This time it is a baby boy but the M.O. has changed. Is this the same person or a copycat? The police have a suspect but Stubo insists they are hunting the wrong man, an assertion impossible to support without some kind of evidence. What follows is a head-on collision between the past and present, when lives become interwoven in a strange tapestry and throughout it all remains the burning question, where is Emilie?
As compelling and current as today’s headlines, this tale capitalizes upon a parent’s worst nightmare while creating a fine “who done-it.” The pacing is a bit uneven as Vik pursues aspects of the old conviction but may be forgiven as it plays a key role in the climax. Character dynamics between Vik, her ex and Stubo are developed enough to be interesting without taking over the storyline. The killer is smart, emotionally scarred and driven enough to be more then a match for Stubo and Vik leaving us to hope for more from this unlikely pair.