Following an argument with her parents, 15 year old Freya Coleman storms out of the house. In tears, she goes to meet the only person who understands her: Robbie, the nice guy she's been chatting to online. She doesn't return home.
ONE YEAR LATER
A teenager's body is found in a Southampton park. She is gaunt, bruised, and barely breathing. She is rushed to hospital, but has been so badly abused that doctors fear her fragmented memory may never recover. When another girl is reported missing a day later, D.I. White of the Hampshire Major Investigation Team fears Freya's attacker has struck again.
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST
With White's team focused on finding the new missing teenager, Freya's parents hire Private Investigator Johnson Carmichael to find the person who abducted their daughter. The family has a secret they can't tell the police, and it might just lead Carmichael to 'Robbie'.
I had never read any of Stephen Edger's books, so when I heard from my fellow blogger friend Noelle Holten of crimebookjunkie that the author was looking for reviewers I immediately jumped at the opportunity.
'Fragments' is a fast-paced, tension-packed thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. Though this book is the third in a series it can be read as a standalone, however IMHO it's always better to start a series from book 1. In this book there are some references to past cases that most probably have been dealt with in previous books, but these do not diminish the reader's enjoyment of the story.
The book highlights the dangers of online stalking by paedophiles. Freya Coleman, a teenager, goes out to meet 'Robbie', a man she met online. She's never seen again and attempts to locate her are fruitless. Where is Freya? Who is this 'Robbie'? The following year another teenage girl goes missing after meeting an online friend. DI Tony White of the Hampshire Major Investigation Team is certain this is the deed of the same perpetrator and together with DC Beth Taylor he finds himself on a race against time to find out the the girl's whereabouts before it's too late, but this won't be easy. The kidnapper knows what he's doing. Who is this online stalker? How will White trace him down? And will he find him in time?
In the meantime, not trusting the police force, Freya's mother appoints Private Investigator Johnson Carmichael to locate the person who kidnapped her daughter. She knows something she can't divulge to the police.
Something I liked about this book/series is the fact that we have two main characters - DI White and PI Carmichael. These are two interesting individuals and each carries out his own investigation, so the reader can look at the story from two different angles.
However I would have been happier if the author spent more words on the characters' physical characteristics. Here I'm referring to both the main and the secondary characters. I think this is a drawback for the reader. As far as I'm concerned, as a reader, I want to have a clear image of each character in my head as I read. So it was rather of an 'OH' moment for me when at 65% in the book I learnt that Carmichael is actually a big, black man. This may not be such a big deal but up till that point I had a completely different image of this man in my head. The same with the other characters, I knew nothing on their physical appearance...again I'm talking from the pov of someone who hasn't read the previous books so this may not be an issue for those who have read the other ones.
Having said that, this is a very engaging read, full of twists, turns and red herrings, and that keeps you guessing. The perp's identity is not revealed till the very end and I must say that I like the way the author lays out the final part. Finally I have no problem in recommending this thriller and am looking forward to read more books by this author.
With thanks to the author for an advanced reviewer copy in exchange of an honest review.
Stephen was born in Darlington in NE England but was raised in London. He moved to Southampton to study Law at University but after graduation decided his future lay outside of a courtroom. Stephen works in finance and has used his experiences of the industry in each of his books.
Stephen had an urge to write from a young age and regularly received school reports praising his vivid imagination. He was inspired to start writing in 2010 after being burgled while on holiday in Spain. The trauma of returning to his villa to find it burgled became the inspiration for the first chapter of 'Integration' and the plot developed from there.
Stephen loves to read thrillers, in particular British thrillers. He cites Simon Kernick, Stephen Leather and Mark Billingham as influences though is also a fan of Dan Brown, John Grisham and James Ellroy.