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Cry of the Children (A Lambert and Hook Mystery) Hardcover – January 1, 2014
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This new Lambert and Hook procedural is both brutal and upsetting. Seven-year-old Lucy Gibson is thrilled to be going to the local fair with her mother’s new boyfriend, Matt. But by the end of the day, Lucy has disappeared. A search is launched, but when the 24-hour mark passes, Lambert and Hook know the chances of finding the child alive have diminished drastically. There are several suspects: a mentally disabled woman, Lucy’s real father, a fairground worker known for being violent, a local pedophile, Matt, and even Lucy’s mom. Then another child is snatched, and the game changes dramatically. As usual, Gregson gives readers a realistic picture of modern-day policing, including a sense of the frustration cops feel when faced with a particularly horrible, difficult-to-solve case, as well as a glimpse of the impact such cases have on the family and friends of the victims and the police. --Emily Melton
"Gregson knows when to up the ante in this tense procedural.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“Gregson keeps the reader guessing whodunit.” (Publishers Weekly)
Top customer reviews
As the main characters age I become more alarmed that the series will end and I would be sad
about that. I highly recommend this book. Read all of them. What a treat!
The search begins for seven-year-old Lucy Gibson, who disappeared from the village fair. As Det. Chief Supt. John Lambert, Det. Sgt. Bert Hook, and Det. Sgt. Ruth David begin the investigation, the unthinkable happens: Lucy's body is discovered in the Wye River. Several suspects are identified. High on the list of suspects is Lucy's mother's boyfriend, Matt Boyd, the man who took Lucy to the fair and didn't immediately report her missing, but there are 4 other equally qualified, albeit ignobly, suspects. Fair worker Rory Burns has already reportedly tried to molest another young girl. Then there is 70 year-old Dennis Robson, a known pedophile. Big Julie Foster is a mentally challenged woman who they know longs to have a child to care for and love. Even Lucy's father, Dean Gibson, is a suspect. The police rush to solve the crime before harm comes to another child.
This is not a novel full of breath-taking twists and turns in the plot. What it is, however, is an excellent, very traditional British police procedural that moves along at a fast pace and will keep your interest right up to the end. Gregson did an outstanding job keeping me guessing. As I followed along the information and clues the police uncovered, I'm going to admit here and now that I didn't have a clue who the guilty party was for sure until the very end. Oh, I had some good guesses, but nothing was confirmed until the end.
Although I have not read all the books in this series, that wasn't a hindrance at all in my enjoyment of this latest mystery. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel.
Very Highly Recommended
Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of Severn House Publishers via Netgalley for review purposes.
It's also becoming increasingly difficult to ongoingly accept that a police Chief Superintendent would be so involved at the coal face of as many crimes as is Lambert. It's very unlikely that a superintendent would be out in a car chasing the baddies across town for example, rather than piloting a desk back at the nick. And DS Hook is in mortal danger of turning into a caricature of himself.
***** SPOILER ALERT *****
The plot? Just okay. Maybe borderline cosy? Too many suspects set up too neatly and too obviously, particularly the characters of the fairground roustabout and the old kiddie-stalker. And the ending was poorly contrived and executed. The reader was given not even the vaguest of hints at all (that I could see) as to what Lambert was thinking about when he amazingly, and suddenly, figured out it was Dean Gibson who killed his daughter. The rest of the "baddies" were so strongly painted as to amount to deliberate red herrings.
Normally this would've been a four-star rating form me, but I've knocked one star off for an overly-contrived cast of bad guys and a couple of protagonists who may be just beyond their "best by" date.