Someone is watching them…
When a missing teenage girl reappears unharmed but pregnant, the case falls to Detective Edina Ogborne, the newest recruit of Canterbury Police. But Edina’s already got her hands full with a team who don’t want her, an ex who won’t quit, and terrible guilt over a secret from her past.
DI Ed Ogborne is a deeply flawed character. Her mistakes have led to her being thrown out of the Metropolitan Police and transferred to Canterbury, a move that she resents. Her arrival in Canterbury was caused quite a stir and has obstructed the promotion of another investigator so, from the very start, she is off on the wrong foot with her new colleagues. She struggles to lead her new team, is highly suspicious of everyone around her and is convinced that her new unit is guilty of police corruption. Her first case with her new team is to investigate the disappearance of sixth form schoolgirl, Lucy Naylor. As Ed is keen to impress her new team, she gets stuck into the case early but there is little to go on. It soon becomes clear that Lucy’s disappearance might be connected with several older cases in which kidnapped girls were returned unharmed but pregnant. In addition, the girls claim that they were well looked after whilst being held captive. It soon becomes apparent to the reader that this is a very strange case with an unusual motive.
The book alternates between Ed’s narrative as she investigates the case and navigates her new environment and Lucy’s narrative in captivity. Lucy’s description of her prison is terrifying as it’s dark and isolated. Strange noises at night taunt her and her abductor often comes in with strange packages with an unusual smell. Even more disconcerting is the abductor’s voice as he uses a reed to give him a Punch voice from Punch and Judy. The abductor is an intriguing character because he deliberately do not want to hurt the kidnapped girls and keeps mysterious items in jars in another room. His troubled past is revealed to us in flashbacks as he recalls growing up with a very troubled mother. The abductor’s identity is a mystery until the end of the book but there are plenty of suspects throughout.
Ed is also a fascinating character because of her past. She has made some fundamental misjudgments despite being an DI so we never really warm to her or fully respect her. Her choice of men is deplorable and I think readers expect more of their female characters today. Yet, despite her flaws, the book is well written and well plotted. Each of the members of her new team has a backstory which makes them distinctive but I would like to know more about them.
This is Sanders’ debut novel and is the first in the D.I. Ogborne Mystery Series. The Victim, the second in the series was released in June 2019 and I look forward to reading it.
About the author
G.D. Sanders has previously worked in academia. He is now retired and enjoys writing contemporary crime fiction, as it allows much more creativity than writing scientific research articles. He is based in London. The Taken Girls is his first novel.