51uedmjr1slWhen a woman is found murdered in a cathedral and a man is found hanging from a tree, Detective Lottie Parker is called in to lead the investigation. When the same tattoo is discovered on the legs of both victims, is becomes obvious that they are connected, but how? The trail leads Parker to the former children’s home, St. Angela’s, and a cover-up that has existed for decades. When two teenage boys go missing, Parker is under extreme pressure to close the case before the killer strikes again.

By using the line, ‘I wonder which one of us will be next?’, Patricia Gibney has you hooked right from the start of the book as we are introduced to three children witnessing the death and subsequent burial of another child. Although it is obvious from quite early on in the story who some of the children are, the full significance of the event is not revealed until the end and leaves you feeling horrified and traumatised at the same time.

There have been many books written about abuse in children’s homes but what I particularly liked about The Missing Ones is that it deals with the repercussions for all those involved – the abusers and the abused. Patricia Gibney has created a very atmospheric book that paints a very vivid picture of what life was like at St. Angela’s and, at times, your heart bleeds for those who were unfortunate enough to be incarcerated there.

In Detective Lottie Parker, we have a strong female lead who, after losing her husband, is battling her own inner demons. Her relationship with her children is strained as she struggles to find a balance between her work and home life and she is in danger of losing control of her children altogether. I really liked Lottie and felt that she handled situations in a ‘real’ way, making her character very believable.

On the strength of this book, I hope that this is a series that will run and run. I look forward to reading the next stages of Lottie’s life.

With thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley for the ARC.