From Publishers Weekly
DCI Neil Paget investigates a missing-persons case in this workmanlike entry in Smith's police procedural series (Acts of Vengeance, etc.). Mark Newman, a jack-of-all-trades who aspires to be a journalist, vanishes after a covert meeting in a generic English pub about a potential story. When Paget learns that Newman's informant, Mickey Doyle, has also disappeared, he concludes that someone attempting to conceal the secret that Doyle stumbled onto has killed them both. Paget's team's efforts soon come closer to the truth than the National Criminal Intelligence Service would like, triggering a jurisdictional dispute that threatens to prevent justice for the missing men. A prologue detailing Newman's failed surveillance of a secluded farmhouse leaves little suspense about his fate. In addition, instead of Paget's uncovering the story Newman was pursuing, an NCIS official simply recounts it to him late in the book.
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The latest entry in Smith’s excellent Neil Paget series injects the British police procedural with a real jolt of energy. This time Paget and his team investigate the mysterious disappearance of local handyman and wannabe journalist Mark Newman. When his housemate reports Newman missing, Paget is inclined simply to file a perfunctory “mis-per” report, but when Newman's van is discovered at the bottom of a quarry, and another local man, apparently the last person Newman spoke to before he disappeared, is found dead, Paget knows he has a real case on his hands. After multiple dead ends have been steered around, and just as the case seems about to break wide open, Paget and his team are summarily told to drop their investigation, setting up some genuinely surprising plot twists. In Smith’s talented hands, the procedural formula extends well beyond meticulous description of police work to embrace the kind of plotting pyrotechnics that distinguishes high-concept thrillers. Procedural buffs will find plenty of detail here to please them, but those who enjoy a little Ridley Pearson pizzazz will also be satisfied. --Emily Melton