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Synopsis: 12.46: Thirteen-year-old Claire Bingley stands alone at a bus stop
12.47: Ted Conkaffey parks his car beside her
12.52: The girl is missing . . .
Six minutes – that’s all it took to ruin Detective Ted Conkaffey’s life. Accused but not convicted of Claire’s abduction, he escapes north, to the steamy, croc-infested wetlands of Crimson Lake.
Amanda Pharrell knows what it’s like to be public enemy number one. Maybe it’s her murderous past that makes her so good as a private investigator, tracking lost souls in the wilderness. Her latest target, missing author Jake Scully, has a life more shrouded in secrets than her own – so she enlists help from the one person in town more hated than she is: Ted.
But the residents of Crimson Lake are watching the pair’s every move. And for Ted, a man already at breaking point, this town is offering no place to hide . . .

My review: I liked this. It has a different edge to many crime novels with the protagonist being almost convicted for the rape and attempted murder of a young girl. Rather than acquitted the case has been dropped so throughout the book you have the possibility that maybe he did do it. It’s not until the last few paragraphs that we get a more definitive answer and you are reliant on taking his word for it. 

Which adds the edge. He joins in partnership with an ex-inmate who has also committed murder as they attempt to track down a missing presumed dead young adult author. Cheerful this book isn’t.

It’s well described, the characters are richly observed, it’s very atmospheric but it’s really depressing. Conkaffey has moved to a small town to get away from the media and try and start a new life but as with all small towns there’s an undercurrent of prejudice, small mindedness and it’s not long before the hate mobs are out.

It’s a good book, I enjoyed it but you need a cheerful one to follow afterwards.