Detective Manon Bradshaw is five months pregnant and has officially given up on finding romantic love. Instead, she is in hot pursuit of work-life balance and parked in a cold case corridor—the price she’s had to pay for a transfer back to Cambridgeshire. This is fine, she tells herself. She can devote herself to bringing up her two children: her adopted twelve-year-old son, Fly Dent, and the new baby. Fly needed a fresh start—he was always being stopped and searched in London by officers who couldn’t see past the color of his skin. Manon feared that Fly, increasingly sullen and adolescent, was getting in with the wrong crowd at school, or that possibly he was the wrong crowd. Being home by five, for the sake of her children, is what Manon tells herself she needs.

Yet when a wealthy businessman is found stabbed close to police headquarters, Manon can’t help but sidle in on the briefing: The victim is a banker from London, worth millions. More dramatically, he was once in a relationship with Manon’s sister, Ellie, and is the father of Ellie’s toddler son.

The case begins to circle in on Manon’s home and her family. She finds herself pitted against the colleagues she once held dear: Davy Walker and Harriet Harper.

My Thoughts: I loved connecting with Manon Bradshaw in the author’s previous novel, “Missing, Presumed.” What I enjoy about her most is how we are privy to her personal life, with all of its flaws and foibles, and we are granted a glimpse of her thoughts as she struggles through the challenges she faces. Living in a house with her sister Ellie and Ellie’s son Solomon, we can sense from the beginning that something is not right. Ellie’s abruptness, her paranoia about her privacy, and the secrets she is holding close put me on high alert. What we do not find out until later is how much Ellie has done to protect her own turf, no matter how her actions will impact those around her.

I felt frustrated by the rush to judgment of the police with regard to the murder of Jon-Oliver, who is Solly’s father. Someone in the police management team has pushed for the arrest of 12-year-old Fly. Why are the hasty judgments not investigated properly?

Manon is locked out of the investigation because Fly is her adopted son, but she manages to work her way into parts of the investigation via Fly’s attorney, Mark Talbot.

Davy Walker, who worked closely with Manon before Fly’s involvement in the case, is doggedly pursuing other angles, once his gut tells him that something is off.

Narrated by Manon, Davy, and a few other individuals, Persons Unknown begins to unfold slowly, and we soon see the crucial connections that will help solve the case. While one piece remains uncovered, we feel much of the satisfaction due us in a mystery with characters we love. 4.5 stars.




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