The Stolen Child is the first book in the DI Hanlon series by Alex Coombs. It’s gritty, painful, full of conspiracy and closed ranks, disturbing and so very well written in to a superb crime novel.
The Stolen Child takes us on a journey full of stomach knots and sickening feelings in our guts as we first come to observe the retrieval of children’s bodies and DI Hanlon’s private theory, which she enlists the help of a close colleague to get to the bottom of while she’s being closely observed by some not-very-nice-people within the Metropolitan Police. One such observer turns out to be an ally right through to the very end. And the colleague? Well he ends up fighting for his life, something Hanlon takes exceedingly personally.
The crimes run deeper than children being murdered and their bodies dumped; these children are chosen specifically to cater for the sinister tastes of the powerful and wealthy, they are then taken in to captivity, abused, murdered and dumped with no evidence of who committed the atrocities. And this is where we’re introduced to conspiring law officials, low life thugs and general scumbags with too much money and not enough moral backbone.
The Stolen Child, to start with, was hard for me to read (most likely because it was so disturbing and as a parent I’m all to aware of the predatory nature of the world around us and how vulnerable children are) but as I began to stomach the grit slightly, and the theories and attack on a good and decent public server began to grip me, I really began to read a lot quicker and want to read ahead to find out what was going to happen next.
Even though I’ve only read the first book in this series, I have a feeling that with Coomb’s level of research combined with insane writing skills that readers are about to find themselves pulled into the Hanlon fan base and submerged in her dark world. If you can detach yourself from your own comfort zone and keep yourself calm while reading (I was so close to shouting at my Kindle several times and even considered throwing it out the window at one point!) then this is going to be one Hell of a ride.
About The Author
Alex Coombs studied Arabic at Oxford and Edinburgh Universities and went on to work in adult education and then retrained to be a chef. He has written four well reviewed crime novels as Alex Howard.