Forensic psychologist Paula Maguire returns to her hometown in Ballyterrin to keep an eye on her ailing father, and to investigate unsolved cases of two missing girls from 1985. Since she’s a local girl and since her own mother also went missing, its assumed that Paula will have a better feel for solving these old cases. Paula is hard-hitting and strong-minded, but likeable in that she shows vulnerability and makes mistakes. It was easy to get behind her cause. Her supporting cast in the force are equally well-drawn and believable. Aidan, her ex, who runs the local newspaper and whose father was murdered by the IRA is also fully fleshed out and the characters running The Mission felt suitably creepy without falling into cliche.
Lost children are commonplace in this genre and police procedural novels are not usually my thing but this one surprised me. Good pacing, realism, tension, depth of character and setting; all held my interest throughout. The author shared a good sense of place and memories of The Troubles, those internal wars which blighted Ireland through the 80’s, leaving a trail of trauma for years to come, helped root the novel in believability. I especially liked that the author didn’t rely on gory details. Clean, concise writing, just enough descriptive elements to paint a picture within the realms of the genre.