Friday, January 10, 2020

Little Boy Lost

Little Boy Lost by J. P. Carter
Avon; 1/23/20
eBook review copy; 400 pages
ISBN-13: 9780008313340
DCI Anna Tate #3 

Little Boy Lost by J. P. Carter is a very highly recommended police procedural/thriller and the third in the DCI Anna Tate series.

All hell is breaking loose in London. After an accidental police shooting during an arrest, riots break out across London - arson, looting, violence, and chaos is rampant. Anna Tate is supposed to be on two months leave after recently being reunited with her abducted daughter, Chloe, but she is called back into to work a case. In the basement of an abandoned pub that is set on fire by the rioters, the body of a child is found. He is identified as ten year old Jacob Rossi and is part of a kidnapping investigation after he went missing on his way home from school. His father is a well-known celebrity, Mark Rossi. The arsonists likely didn't know Jacob was being held in the basement and their actions killed him. Anna just has a limited team to help her find out who kidnapped Jacob and for what purposes.

So Anna can work the case, she asks her boyfriend, Tom, to go to her house and look after Chloe, especially as night approaches and all the violence spreading across the city will escalate. Unknown to Anna, violence strikes her neighborhood right when Tom arrives to take Chloe to his place. Tom is attacked and Chloe is suddenly left on her own, trying to find some safe place amidst the rampant violence and roaming gangs. While Anna is working the case, Chloe is threatened at every turn, and the violence is spreading.

Little Boy Lost is an un-put-downable thriller. I was engrossed in both narrative threads - Anna working the case and Chloe's flight for safety. We are viewing the rioting from two different viewpoints and it makes it even more heart-stopping that Anna does not know Chloe is in danger and Chloe has no way to contact her. I kept reading this one long into the night. For those who haven't read the previous two DCI Anna Tate books, Little Boy Lost works as a standalone novel. All the backstory is told and you will quickly be up to speed. This is my first J.P. Carter book and based on it, I will pick up another. The characters are all well-developed.

The writing is fantastic. I liked following the narrative as it alternated between Chloe's desperate danger-filled plight and Anna's steady and careful investigation being hampered by the same riots. The juxtaposition of the action with the investigation in the plot keeps the suspense building in both parts of the narrative. They are equally compelling story-lines but also very different. On the one hand there is a police procedural and clues to follow. On the other hand is a twelve-year-old girl running for her life caught up in a night full of violence.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of HarperCollins

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