Book Title: Gone Astray
Author: Michelle Davies
Reviewed By: Chelsea
Series: DC Maggie Neville #1
Genres: Crime Fiction, Police Procedural, Suspense, Mystery, Thriller
Date Read: 03/06/17
Pub Date: 03/24/16
When a Lesley Kinnock buys a lottery ticket on a whim, it changes her life more than she could have imagined . . .
Lesley and her husband Mack are the sudden winners of a £15 million EuroMillions jackpot. They move with their 15-year-old daughter Rosie to an exclusive gated estate in Buckinghamshire, leaving behind their ordinary lives – and friends – as they are catapulted into wealth beyond their wildest dreams.
But it soon turns into their darkest nightmare when, one beautiful spring afternoon, Lesley returns to their house to find it empty: their daughter Rosie is gone.
DC Maggie Neville is assigned to be Family Liaison Officer to Lesley and Mack, supporting them while quietly trying to investigate the family. And she has a crisis threatening her own life – a secret from the past that could shatter everything she’s worked so hard to build.
As Lesley and Maggie desperately try to find Rosie, their fates hurtle together on a collision course that threatens to end in tragedy . . .
Money can’t buy you happiness.
The truth could hurt more than a lie.
One moment really can change your life forever.
When I was offered a review copy of Gone Astray, the only review I had actually read featuring it was from my friend Kate @ Bibliophile Book Club and she really enjoyed it, so I knew I would as well. I’m actually glad I didn’t look into this one too much before reading it; I’ve really been favoring blindly reading most books these days and it’s been an eye opening experience. I was able to go into this debut with absolutely no expectations; I simply knew it was a crime fiction novel and that it was the first in a new series featuring a FLO named DC Maggie Neville. I was a little worried once I saw the book was 450 pages; that’s quite hefty for a thriller and I thought there might be too much fluff to pad the page count. Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I’ve flown through a book that thick; the font is large with short chapters so the pacing flows well throughout and doesn’t feel stilted at any point.
What made this book stand out among other police procedurals was not the criminal plot itself; yes it was fantastically done and I had none of the twists figured out, but the side story with Maggie was what fully captured my attention. So many books in the crime fiction genre are fully focused on the case; the authors want us to be shocked and in awe of the brilliant surprises, but most fall short of being truly excellent because they miss out on this important aspect. The reason I am so drawn to authors like Robert Bryndza, Angela Marsons, and Karin Slaughter are due to their enormous talent in developing their re-occuring characters (and to be quite honest, their minor characters and villains as well). My connection with those representing the police force in these stories is the only way for me to have a 5 star reading experience in the genre, and Michelle Davies achieved that goal IMO. Upon finishing the book I found myself excited and eager to continue on with Maggie and her crew; her story was just as complex as the plot involving the crime which I hope will carry over into the next book. I was so keen on reading the next one that I ordered Wrong Place (book #2) before I had even finished Gone Astray!
If you enjoy a good crime thriller that goes beyond surface level story telling, please give this a go. I loved how the author was able to fully captivate my attention without needing an overabundance of blood, gore, and graphic violence. In fact, there isn’t a lot of graphic content of any type in this book; there is some necessary violence and descriptions of wounds but nothing as brutal as most of us are used to. The beauty of this story is how the author uses other ways to horrify and shock us. This novel will appeal to the reader who is more concerned with detail and characterization; please don’t misunderstand though, this book is anything but boring. I’m not sure how to describe it, but I got that special feeling reading this that I have gotten in the past when I have found a new favorite author to follow. So very grateful to have had this one fall on my radar and am super excited for my next book to arrive so that I can continue on with Maggie.
*Many thanks to Francesca Pearce at Pan Macmillan for sending me a copy across the pond; it was an absolute pleasure to provide my honest thoughts and feedback!