Persons Unknown: A Novel
By Susie Steiner
Detective Inspector Manon Bradshaw has moved out of London and into the suburbs with her sister, Ellie, and their two sons, Fly and Solly. Adapting to their new locale hasn’t been as easy as they had hoped, and Manon’s son, Fly, especially misses his life in the city. But Manon and Ellie have a good relationship, supportive and without secrets – or so Manon might think.
The death of a high-flying financier, Jon-Oliver Ross, lets loose a series of events that will bring Manon and her family to the edge of collapse, and perhaps even further. Although she’s not allowed on the investigative team for the murder, Manon embarks on her own research when it becomes clear that this case has long, twisted tentacles that not only encompass her family, but squeeze it to the point of breaking. Manon is sure that the circumstances are not at all what her colleagues are assuming, but she’ll be out on a shaky limb trying to prove her theory without any real jurisdiction or responsibility for the case.
Persons Unknown is told from several different points of view, the parallel lines growing close and threatening to intersect, then moving along while maintaining a tension-inducing distance throughout. The changing perspectives drive the narrative forward at a breakneck pace, keeping the story taut while never missing a beat. Manon is conflicted and imperfect, which makes her even more interesting, and the back stories surrounding other narrators are equally compelling as the plot unfolds. Sometimes the people you think you know the best are the people you know the least, and this book is a perfect example of that theory. Persons Unknown is a true page-turner, a mystery lover’s dream of a vacation read, although the urge to stay up into the wee hours to finish it will be hard to resist. Don’t say you weren’t warned!
Joyce Greenfield, ReaderToReader.com