Julian and Annie have only just announced their forthcoming marriage, when Annie's twelve-year old son Dan mysteriously fails to come home from school. Despite an extensive police investigation, the days turn into weeks and it is as if he has vanished into thin air. Over the next three years, Annie refuses to give up hope that somewhere her son is alive and will one day return home. Julian, meanwhile, can't help but yearn for Annie to put the past behind her and move on.
Then, out of the blue, a call from Glasgow brings shocking news of Dan's fate. And far from being over, it seems the mystery of his disappearance is only just beginning...
Frayn (One Life) plumbs the effect of a boy's disappearance on his family in her second novel, a thoughtful thriller inspired by a real-life tragedy. When Annie Wray, a British widow with two children, decides to marry Julian Poulter, a painting authenticator, her 12-year-old son, Dan, doesn't welcome the news. Dan has clashed with Poulter repeatedly since his introduction into their lives as a possible replacement for his beloved late father. One spring afternoon, Dan fails to come home from school, and despite intensive police efforts, no evidence as to his whereabouts surfaces. The loss naturally affects the dynamic between Wray and Poulter, who fears that he'll become the object of the investigators' scrutiny. Frayn manages to take what could be a trite setup and imbue it with genuine depth. Her plotting skills and insights into human nature will evoke deserved comparisons to authors like Laura Lippman and Ruth Rendell.