MYSTERY

Gone by Midnight

Forge: Tor. (Crimson Lake, Bk. 3). Mar. 2020. 352p. ISBN 9781250317582. $27.99. SUSPENSE
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Disgraced cop Ted Conkaffey and convicted killer Amanda Pharrell are private investigators in this third “Crimson Lake” novel (after Redemption Point). The Australian setting is blazing hot and full of crocodile-infested rivers and lakes. Conkaffey is finally permitted (after his fall) to spend a week with two-year-old daughter Lillian. The timing is awful, though: eight-year-old Richie Farrow has gone missing from a locked hotel room where he played with three buddies while their parents dined downstairs and checked the room every hour. Conkaffey and Pharrell (who has no sense of boundaries yet is very clever) clash with local police when they are also hired to investigate. The beginning of the story is fascinating and fast paced but eventually melodrama takes over. The PI characters are unrealistic. Readers will wonder, as Conkaffey does, what Pharrell is up to, when, like a magician, she reveals something important that everyone else missed. Pluses include Conkaffey’s loving relationship with daughter Lillian and the detectives’ questioning of the young boys about Richie’s disappearance.
VERDICT Readers willing to overlook a few flaws will enjoy this graphic mystery.

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