Fall From Grace
A David Raker Mystery #5
Penguin Books, July 2017
David Raker, finder of missing persons, is asked to locate Leonard Franks, a retired 35-year veteran who headed the Met’s murder squad, and had disappeared seven months before without a trace in a variation of the locked room mystery. His investigation becomes more complicated than just finding out what happened after Franks stepped out from his living room to gather a few logs from the woodshed. When he didn’t return, his wife went out to look for him and couldn’t find a trace: no tracks in the snow, no car visible for miles in any direction.
Raker’s investigation takes him from the bucolic Dorset countryside to the depths of London and into an abandoned Bethlehem, a mental institution, a cast of characters too numerous to contemplate and copious family and police secrets. Along the way, violence erupts and Raker and his daughter are in danger.
The author has chosen to develop a plot far beyond a simple missing person’s case, unraveling a series of subplots ending in a denouement far from the original start of the story. Whether this track is a good idea or not is up to a reader’s taste. This reader reacted in the negative, believing a story should be simple rather than overly complex. But the novel is well-written and –plotted, and for those who can enjoy very multifaceted tales, it can be and is recommended.
Reviewed by Ted Feit, July 2017.