In the small Dublin suburbs, Rob Ryan and his partner Cassie Maddox are called to the scene of a murder, where a young girl was raped and murdered. It just happens to be on the edge of the same forest where, as a child, Rob was playing with his two best friends and they disappeared while he was found covered in blood with no memory of what happened. This case stirs up memories of his childhood and that horrible day when his friends went forever missing. As Ryan and Maddox investigate what happened to the young girl, they find something amiss with the family. Is there abuse in the family? Was it one of the parents that killed the child?
This is two mysteries in one as we unfold what happened to Rob as a child and what happened to the murdered young girl. We also learn of the relationship between Maddox and Ryan, which is abnormally close for how short a period the two have known each other and how they work together. The first chapter grabs you instantly and makes you hungry to learn what happened all those years ago. I was actually more intrigued by that mystery than the child mystery, which was pretty standard murder-mystery story fare.
The ending is where this book died for me. I don't mind there not being some resolution but literally nothing was resolved in this book. There's a relationship left off the rails, one mystery is solved and the other isn't, and the one that is solved has a shitty (though realistic) ending. One of those and maybe even two of those would have been ok with me but all three was a let down.
First Line: "Picture a summer stolen whole from some coming-of-age film set in small-town 1950s."