A Map of the Dark

Written by Karen Ellis

Review written by Andrew Hill

A former Customs and Police Officer, Andrew Hill is just putting the finishing touches to the first book in a crime series set in the New Forest, where he lived for 30 years. An avid reader across the crime genre and regular at Crimefest, he now lives in West Sussex and works in property.


A Map of the Dark
Mulholland Books
RRP: £14.99
Released: January 11 2018
HBK

Writing under this pseudonym, International Thriller Writers member, Katia Lief has written a well-crafted and interestingly textured story featuring FBI Special Agent Elsa Myers of the Child Abduction Rapid Deployment unit as her determined, but damaged leading character.

With a dying father, a strained relationship with her sister and her personal life resembling a train wreck, we enter the world of Elsa Myers.

It appears that there’s a killer abducting young women in a manner that makes it appear that there’s a ‘repeater’ with a particularly personal modus operandi on the loose.

As Elsa and the rest of the task force assigned to the case try to close the net on this wary and savvy criminal, the sands of time are rapidly running out on any hope of finding the kidnap victims alive (and that is adroitly conveyed by the author).

Via a dual time line the author also gives us a series of flashbacks into Elsa’s past that are unswerving in their revealing of how she became the person she is today.

This is a meticulously researched narrative, particularly on how the Bureau responds to child abduction. This is borne out by the detail she’s managed to include in the story, without the reader feeling that these aspects are holding the story back. That being said, there is a scene with a DEA tech who dips a finger into a white substance, tastes it and states it’s almost certainly heroin. This is a big No-No. The FBI as well as the DEA have issued numerous warnings about field testing of suspected heroin; due to it being cut with Fentanyl and / or other toxins risking skin absorption.

Apart from that minor niggle, this is a good read with a complex, but sympathetic protagonist in a a well-paced narrative and a very interesting curve ball at the finish.



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