Why a booktrail?
Two Derbyshire school girls are abducted and only one escapes. More than 30 years later and dark secrets from the past look set to be revealed…
Story in a nutshell
The people of Derbyshire and England are horrified when two young schoolgirls are kidnapped. Only one girl, Rachel, is found whilst Sophie remains missing. The police hope that Rachel will be able to give them some clues as to who took them but all she can remember is that her abductor was a woman.
Some thirty years later and Sophie’s mum commits suicide. Was it because of her missing daughter and if not what? Rachel is worried that she will now be hounded for more insight into the kidnapping. When one of her former teachers is found dead, she might well have reason to be afraid
Superintendent Llewellyn, who was a young constable on the 1978 case, asks DI Francis Sadler and DC Connie Childs to look again at the kidnapping. What did they miss back then? And what is happening now?
Place and setting
Bampton may be a fictional town in Derbyshire but the descriptions of woodland and the bitter chill of winter are enough to place you right at the heart of the rugged landscape.
Bampton is rural and considered a nice safe place to live so when two young girls go missing, kidnapped by someone in a car, this is something that is unheard of in these quiet parts. The fear of the kidnapping, the fear of not seeing the girls again and the fear of that someone possibly in their midst is responsible has torn the community apart.
Bampton had started off like many others in England, as a place of trade, Tourist were often surprised to find the picturesque Peak town also supported working businesses…
An air of self-satisfaction was the legacy of its affluent Victorian heritage.
Suddenly Rachel returns. The relief is palpable yet the fear remains as Sophie is no where to be seen. Rachel grows up to be a genealogist, helping people to map their family trees, their connections, their past. Life is all about connections and how communities and families grow and develop over the years. Rachel was lost but now she is helping to find.
Derbyshire and the surrounding Peak District is a great setting for a novel about missing children, the search for the truth and a sense of community…exposed to the elements. The ondulating moorland, granite peaks, and the bitter chill of the wind set the scene for an atmospheric tale of buried secrets.
As for the 1970s – Life in the 70s was good sometimes wasn’t it? There are many flashbacks and ‘ I remember that..’ moments which evoke both time, place and mood of the decade that fashion sometimes forgot.
However the abduction in 1978 has scarred this landscape and the people who live there more than they will ever know.
Booktrail review – Susan
Sarah, what I can say. We at the booktrail feel we’ve known you for a while on the crime fiction ‘scene’ and now having gained so much expertise and passion yourself, you’ve written a book that contains all of that and more.
This is one thriller which develops steadily and builds to the final crescendo. Apt for the Peak District setting, each chapter is a cliff hanger which made me want to read on and find out just what would happen next. New information comes to light, new leads crop up and all the while we, the readers, get the information as the same time as the police so the ultimate light bulb moment is very effective.
I really enjoyed the clever link between Rachel’s job now as someone who traces family trees to the girl who went missing and exposed the strengths and weaknesses within a rural community. The setting of the 1970s also added to the enjoyment of immersing yourself back in time whilst remembering your own childhood which made the two girls very real indeed.
The past and present mix was neatly done and it was like reading a weave of intricate unraveling of the main threads before all you were left with was the bitter chill itself.
You can tell Sarah lives and loves the Derbyshire she describes and is passionate about crime fiction. An assured debut.