Narrator: Dugald Bruce-Lockhart, Penelope Rawlings
Published by HarperAudio on December 1, 2015
Length: 11 hours, 53 minutes
In a heartbeat, everything changes…
Rachel Jenner is walking in a Bristol park with her eight-year-old son, Ben, when he asks if he can run ahead. It’s an ordinary request on an ordinary Sunday afternoon, and Rachel has no reason to worry—until Ben vanishes.
Police are called, search parties go out, and Rachel, already insecure after her recent divorce, feels herself coming undone. As hours and then days pass without a sign of Ben, everyone who knew him is called into question, from Rachel’s newly married ex-husband to her mother-of-the-year sister. Inevitably, media attention focuses on Rachel too, and the public’s attitude toward her begins to shift from sympathy to suspicion.
As she desperately pieces together the threadbare clues, Rachel realizes that nothing is quite as she imagined it to be, not even her own judgment. And the greatest dangers may lie not in the anonymous strangers of every parent’s nightmares, but behind the familiar smiles of those she trusts the most.
Where is Ben? The clock is ticking...
Rachel Jenner lets her son run ahead of her in the park and in that brief moment he disappears. What happens next is a disturbing portrait of how theses cases are handled by law enforcement, the media and the public using social media outlets with the family caught in the middle.
It soon became obvious to me that this story was less about a mystery and more about the psychological examination of those involved in child disappearances, from family and friends to the police charged with finding the child on through those on the perimeter (media, citizenry and those just interested). It wasn’t pretty but unfortunately rang true to life.
The outcome wasn’t as predictable as I thought it might be and I was left with a sense of uneasiness and discomfort. Kudos to the author for a thought provoking exploration of our social system on so many levels. The speed in which the mother is vilified in this story was heartbreaking, primarily because we get her point of view. We can thank our bad experiences with other high profile cases for the current public cynicism and rush to judgment, when outrage should have been properly directed to the mothers but we bought their innocence.
The audio performance was outstanding with two narrators used to present the points of view of Rachel and the lead investigator. They set the tone for the story perfectly. This isn’t a whodunit or a suspenseful mystery so be prepared to just observe and reflect. I found it a very interesting story.
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