O'Connor, Niamh - 'Taken'
In this second novel by this very exciting Irish author she explains in a foreword, that in her profession as a true-crime editor for the Sunday World newspaper, she has come across a lot of stories that fascinate her but if she published them in the newspaper the title could be sued for libel but within the confines of a book of fiction she is on safer ground!
Model and it-girl Tara Parker Trench drives into a late night petrol station at nine o'clock on a Sunday night and leaving her infant child in his seat she filled up her car and trudged into the shop to pay. The garage was very busy and there was a queue and some people in the line started arguing and well Tara got fed up waiting and went back to her car but discovered that her little child had gone. When this was reported to the police, they assigned a couple of men to check it out but Tara wasn't happy as she had read in the papers about DI Jo Birmingham and her success in a previous case (IF I NEVER SEE YOU AGAIN) and wanted her to take charge of finding her son. At first Jo was a little dismissive of the case until Tara explained that her child had chronic asthma and without his daily medication might not survive very long.
Jo started checking the story out and was very surprised with the some of the details and started to wonder how in the present economic climate in Ireland how Tara could afford to dress her child and herself in designer clothes. Was modelling so lucrative in the credit crisis and if it was not how else was she getting money? Jo discovers that Tara does not want anyone to know that her child is missing and Jo starts to be drawn into a dark underworld of corruption and deceit and soon someone connected to Tara gets murdered and Jo needs to use all her resources to uncover what is occurring before it gets too late.
DI Jo Birmingham is a lovely creation, she is a single mother of two and a detective superintendent in the Dublin Force. She is struggling to maintain the right work-life balance which is not helped by her failed marriage and the fact that her ex-husband is her immediate boss as her Detective Chief Inspector.
This was a very deftly plotted, second novel by the ace crime reporter for the Sunday World, Ireland's largest selling Sunday newspaper. A very good writer who perhaps because of her journalistic experience has a very descriptive way of writing in that she can condense a lot of meaning into very few words. I found that I was again kept up late at night reading this. I look forward to reading her next book. Recommended.
Terry Halligan, England