He’s Gone by Alex Clare
How do you find a missing child when his mother doesn’t believe you have the right to even exist? When Detective Inspector Roger Bailley returns to work as Robyn, all she wants is to get on with the job she loves while finally being herself. When toddler Ben Chivers is snatched from a shopping centre on her first day back at work, Robyn has to find Ben and herself as she deals with the reactions of her police colleagues, the media and her own daughter.
I loved the sound of this novel instantly. A transgender police detective, dealing not only with his own transition but the disappearance of a toddler. The synopsis had me intrigued and I wanted to learn more.
The novel opens on 18th July and the disappearance of a little boy named Benjamin from Meresbourne high street. He was out shopping with his nanny Gillian, after she becomes distracted in the pharmacist. Benjamin has vanished, panic ensues!
Across Meresbourne, Detective Inspector Roger Bailley is preparing for his return to work, dressed as and living as, Robyn. She has made the decision, to transition and is nervous and apprehensive about her return to work. How will her colleagues deal with the change? Will she be accepted? Will her change impact team morale?
Robyn is nervous.
Robyn is assigned the case of the missing child, as she is the most experienced detective they have. The team greet her warmly and she begins to believe, it may not all be as bad as she previosuly thought.
‘I’m not roger anymore – I’m Robyn’
At the scene Robyn quickly gets brought up to speed. The CCTV is mis-positioned, the security next to useless and the nanny in floods of tears. One possible lead is that the mother of the boy, Melissa has recently been on the receiving end of threats. Could the missing child be an abduction case? If so, is it linked to the mother’s threats? The CCTV footage is released online. . . .
‘Ben the unlucky one in the wrong place at the wrong time’
Robyn attempts to interview the boy’s mother. But is met with fierce resistance. She makes it apparently clear that someone ‘like her’ would only deflect attention from the case. She goes as far to call Robyn a deviant.
This is no easy case for Robyn to solve.
The mother is a difficult character, she is self- righteous and a control freak. She controls every aspect of her son’s life from his schooling to extra tuition and he isn’t even two years old. Is she raising a child or engineering a robot? Her attitude confuses the case at several turns. Her work life is occupied by dealing with the gentrification of the local docks area. Which indicates why she may have received personal threats. Especially when the docks have links to an organised crime family.
The novel is a police procedural and flows like a real-life case. You get to view the various developments of the case and sit-in on the interviews. But my personal favourite character, was Robyn. I just found her story fascinating. Imagine facing rejection by your family and having your career performance called into question, just due to your transition?
A change people can’t or won’t handle.
A tightly crafted plot with clever twists 4*
Next in the series. . . .
She’s Fallen by Alex Clare
A SUSPICIOUS FALL
Nineteen-year-old Shazia Johar has everything to live for. But when she is found critically injured after plunging from a hotel balcony, DI Robyn Bailley must determine why she fell. Was Shazia pushed or did she jump?
A BROKEN WOMAN
When Robyn’s team investigate the events that led to Shazia’s fall, they discover evidence of violence in the hotel room. What happened and who is responsible?
As Shazia’s life hangs in the balance, Robyn’s team discover the body of another hotel guest. With uncertainty and falsehood disturbing both investigations, Robyn must navigate the web of lies under continued criticism of her new identity from her ex-wife and her daughter.