Sunday, June 26, 2016

Missing, Presumed

Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner
Random House: 6/28/16
eBook review copy; 368 pages
ISBN-13: 9780812998320

Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner is a highly recommended well plotted character driven police procedural.

Manon Bradshaw, 39, is a Detective Sargent on the Cambridgeshire police force who loves her job, but longs for a more fulfilling personal life, including a baby. She can hear her biological clock ticking and has been trying an internet dating site lately, unsuccessfully. After another dreadful date, Manon, who typically falls asleep to the calls on her police radio, hears a call that sends her out to the crime scene.

Edith Hind, a 24 year-old Cambridge graduate student has been reported missing for 24 hours by her boyfriend. The front door was left ajar, there is blood in the kitchen, and her keys and phone are in the cottage they share. Edith is beautiful, smart, spoiled, and self-centered; she is also the daughter of Sir Ian Hind, physician to the royal family.  Manon and her partner Davy know that the pressure will be on to solve this case quickly, as the media attention and her well-connected parents are going to make it headline news. As they are investigating all leads, another body is found. This time it is a young black man. Could there be a connection.

This is a well written procedural that also focuses on establishing and developing the characters. The story is told through alternating narrators, which Steiner is quite successful at navigating between and keeping the complex plot moving along smoothly through the many directions the investigation takes. Manon is a credible, flawed character who is successful at her job, but struggling personally. The other characters who narrate parts of the story are also uniquely individual voices and characters. Their different viewpoints add an additional potency to the investigation.

Since the novel is character driven, it has a more measured, even pace rather than utilizing many thrill-a-second surprises. There are a few twists. I will admit I wasn't totally surprised by the ending as I had surmised parts of it. This didn't lessen my enjoyment of the novel because it is character driven - and I needed to see if my suspicions were correct. Part of the pleasure in reading Missing, Presumed was found in the characters and the journey. It will be interesting to see if Steiner continues with these characters in another book and this becomes a series.

Disclosure: My advanced reading copy was courtesy of the publisher for review purposes.

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