One child is safe… but how long until another is taken? When eleven year old Evan vanishes without a trace, his parents are plunged into their worst nightmare – especially as the police, under massive pressure, have no answers.
But months later Evan is unexpectedly found, frightened and refusing to speak. His loving family realise life will never be the same again.
DI Naylor knows that unless those who took Evan are caught, other children are in danger. And with Evan silent, she must race against time to find those responsible.
This book was a little bit different for me. I like to read before bed and I don’t like anything too scary or disturbing. I read the synopsis of this book and when I noticed a theme of child abduction, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to hack it. However, I’ve started reading more crime and mystery based books recently so thought I’d give it a try anyway, especially as it’s pretty clear the book focuses on Evan being found – hence the name.
As the synopsis outlines, Evan is abducted on his way home from school but after a few months, he is miraculously found. The first part of this novel follows the aftermath of Evan’s disappearance, including what was left of the lives of his family and the efforts of the police looking for him. The second and longer part is him being found, his return to his family and the continued police search for his abductor. Often when you hear of cases like this on the news and thankfully the child is safely returned to their family, that is the last you hear. Although this is fiction, exploring what’s it’s like for the child themselves and their family after such a horrific event makes a very interesting read.
I think this book had two elements to it; the side of the family – the personal touch – and the side of the investigation – the mystery. For starters, I think this story includes such a great exploration and description of police work. I absolutely love that kind of gritty, fascinating investigation that follows detectives through their enquiries, discovery of key evidence and the eventual piecing together of everything. I watch quite a lot of documentaries of a similar nature and this book seems to portray the most realistic depiction of police work that I’ve ever read in fiction – of course, however, I’m only basing this statement on what I’ve personally gathered from watching these documentaries! I think including this side of the story lends itself well to the narrative as a whole as it feels like you’re figuring out the missing pieces and working towards finding the culprits as you read along. Also, I have to say the fact that the lead detective, DI Naylor, is a woman was something I appreciated. Maybe I’m not reading the right books, but in so many instances the lead detective is a man. A woman in a position of occupational power? We love to see it.
On the surface, this seems to be the main part of the story. You follow the police across the country searching for Evan’s abductors and there’s all sorts of twists and turns and complications in the investigation. Also, as mentioned in the synopsis, Evan is refusing to speak when he returns, so the police officers’ earnest efforts to get him to speak is such an important part of the novel; he knows a lot of information that they need revealed. This makes this book your classic mystery page-turner; it leaves you wanting and needing answers.
However, as I said, the second part to this book is family and the more personal side which I think is actually the most touching part of this story; it really leaves a lasting impression. Aside from the police point of view, you also seen Evan’s personal journey in overcoming his dreadful experiences so he can talk, so he can help the police and, quite frankly, get back to living a normal, safe life.
Through this, I think it’s such a compelling look into family relationships, especially the dynamic between children and their grandparents which I don’t think is explored enough. After Evan’s return home, he is struggling to get back to ‘normal’ life, which is of course expected after such traumatic events. His parents allow him to stay with his grandparents for the foreseeable in a quiet, secluded farmhouse in Yorkshire. After this, Evan’s relationship with his parents is more strained, as is the relationship between his mother and father, and the ways in which they try to work all of this out is such an important part of the story. Evan relies heavily on his grandparents and I love how Erin Kinsley really emphasises the love and support of grandparents on grandchildren, and vise vera. That is something so close to my heart and one of my favourite things about this book.
I absolutely adored the characters of Jack and Dora, Evan’s grandparents. They’re not properly introduced until around the middle of the book but for me, they were 100% the best part of the whole story. They’re warm and loving characters that very much reminded me of people in my own life. I’d read this book again just for them. Also, the descriptions of their lovely Yorkshire home and their quaint village were so beautiful.
This book, albeit somewhat different for me, was one I’ll always remember and I’m so glad I read it. It’s a completely gripping page-turner with a fascinating exploration of police investigation and a heart-warming, yet also heart-breaking, insight into family life and the vital support networks for children after such traumatic events.