The Lost Children by Michael Wood is a well-written, crime/detective novel with plenty of credible characters with rich back stories.
Back at work after being shot, DCI Matilda Darke and her team investigate the murder of a wealthy property developer. The crime scene suggests sexual motivations. After the initial report hits the newspapers, Matilda receives a call from Peter Ogilvy, the ex-owner of a children’s home for boys. Ogilvy explains that he has made many attempts to alert police to his suspicions of sexual abuse of boys by the murder victim and his associates. Ogilvy claims his concerns have always been shelved by senior police and hopes Matilda may be the one to finally expose the abuse and explain the cover up. Matilda raises the matter with her seniors and is told to cease that line of inquiry.
And then another murder victim is found with sufficient similarities at the crime scene to connect this victim to the first. One of Matilda’s team leaks information to a journalist, a detailed article appears and Matilda’s angry seniors close down her team, its investigation and make her position redundant. Her and her team’s response is to continue, hopefully uncover enough details of the abuse, find victims and gather their statements to force an official inquiry.
This is a cleverly-written and accurately-detailed crime story with richly-created characters. It is one of a series of books ‘starring’ DCI Darke and her team. The plot is paced well and there are plenty of plot twists and back stories to keep the reader both interested and intrigued, and eager to reach the conclusion. Crime, sex, detective work, all sprinkled with some contemporary British humour. I hope to read more in the series.