'Last night, eight-year old Ethan Reed was abducted at gunpoint from his home by an armed intruder. We are urging members of the public to get in touch. A coordinated search of the local area will be carried out.'
Four years ago, Detective Inspector Harlan Miller killed someone. Now - divorced, alone, consumed by guilt - the world outside his prison walls holds little for him. Until, mere days after his release, an eight-year-old boy is abducted. Ethan Reed. The son of the man he killed. Frustrated by a police search that finds nothing, driven to desperation by repeated appeals that bring in no new leads, Ethan's mother knocks on the door of the man she has reason to hate most in the world. She has one question to ask - beg - of Harlan Miller. Find her little boy. Do whatever it takes.
I had never heard about the author Ben Cheetham until I was sent a link to this book on amazon by a friend of mine. On reading the book's short description I was immediately intrigued and wanted to read it.
Four years ago the life of D.I. Harlan Miller changed for ever. He involuntarily caused the death of father of two Robert Reed and was sent to jail on manslaughter charges.
Now, four years later Harlan is released from prison. He is a broken man, divorced, without any scope in life and suffocated by a sense of guilt for what he's done. He tries to make amends by sending money to the wife of the man he killed, Susan, to help her raise her two sons, but she threatens him to go to the police if he approaches her family again.
A few days later, Susan's younger son, Ethan, is abducted at gunpoint from his bedroom during the night. Harlan is immediately held the primary suspect, but he has an alibi. After many days of investigation and TV pleas, the police are still without any lead and Susan, feeling helpless is desperately forced to do the unthinkable...she goes to seek the help of the man she hates most in the world, Harlan Miller.
Driven by his ever constant sense of guilt and seeing it as a chance to make amends with Susan, Harlan agrees to help, but will he make it on time before something terrible happens to Ethan? Is he prepared to do whatever it takes to save Ethan? If he saves the boy, will Susan finally forgive him for killing her husband? Will he finally come to terms with his guilt and be able to live a 'normal' life?
The author succeeds in literally personifying guilt. Guilt is almost tangible and is a constant feeling throughout the book, it's always there. You can feel Harlan’s guilt through the narration and you can’t not feel empathy for him.
Although I would have preferred shorter chapters, this fast-paced novel kept me hooked from start to finish as it has some very interesting twists and strong, realistic dialogue. In the end I really enjoyed it and I highly recommend it to anyone.