THE SUNDAY TIMES NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER
DI Tom Thorne returns in a chilling mystery that will keep readers guessing until the final page.
Two schoolgirls are abducted in the small, dying Warwickshire town of Polesford, driving a knife into the heart of the community where police officer Helen Weeks grew up and from which she long ago escaped. But this is a place full of secrets, where dangerous truths lie buried.
When it's splashed all over the press that family man Stephen Bates has been arrested, Helen and her partner Tom Thorne head to the flooded town to support Bates' wife - an old school friend of Helen's - who is living under siege with two teenage children and convinced of her husband's innocence.
As residents and media bay for Bates' blood, a decomposing body is found. The police believe they have their murderer in custody, but one man believes otherwise. With a girl still missing, Thorne sets himself on a collision course with local police, townsfolk - and a merciless killer.
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At the outset of Billingham's slow-burning 13th Tom Thorne novel (after 2014's The Bones Beneath), the detective inspector's girlfriend, Det. Sgt. Helen Weeks, persuades him to abandon their original holiday plans and head instead to Polesford, the small Warwickshire village where she grew up, after she recognizes a childhood friend, Linda Bates, on the news as the wife of a man accused of abducting two teenage girls. Even though she hasn't seen Linda for decades, Helen feels a strange pull to help her old friend, and Thorne always relishes a new case. It's been three weeks since Jessica Toms disappeared and two days since Poppy Johnston vanished both appear to have accepted rides from Linda's husband. Despite the husband's claims of innocence, evidence mounts against him, including traces of DNA that place Jessica in his car. Thorne takes a backseat role as he assists Helen in what becomes a deeply personal investigation that builds to a surprising and satisfying climax.