Yes, I know… I’ve arrived late to the party. I’ve been hearing good reviews about Luca Veste‘s novels for some time on Goodreads and I’m only now reading one of them.
Although “Then she was gone” is the 4th novel in the DI David Murphy and DS Laura Rossi series, I had no trouble reading it having missed out on the first three. The author alluded to events in previous novels which kept me abreast of the status quo as to the personal lives of the protagonists. One traumatic event in particular makes me want to go back and read the first three novels.
Set in the northern English city of Liverpool, the story begins with a young father pushing his infant daughter through a park in her pram. He is attacked and the baby is gone. Despite his claims, the police say they have investigated and there never was a baby… They say he invented a story about a woman named Lauren and a daughter named Molly…
Then, when we meet up with the police protagonists they are tasked with a missing person’s case. This is below their remit as they are homicide detectives. The reason they are put on the case is due to the fact that the missing person is running for parliament. As a few days pass, they realize that their being put on this case was a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Psychopathic pond scum
It turns out that Sam Byrne, the twenty-seven year old missing MP candidate, was sexist, psychopathic pond scum masquerading as a handsome, physically fit politician in a tailored suit. He founded a club in university called the Abercromby Boys Club. He was ambitious, greedy, power hungry, arrogant… and sadistic. The club’s motto? Isolate. Inebriate. Penetrate. That was what they did to the young women who were invited to the club’s legendary parties. When and if complaints occurred they relied on their influential families to get them off the hook. They were all handsome and clever – so expected the university to turn a blind eye.
I really liked DI David Murphy’s character. Tall and gangly, he is a technophobe, resistant to change and social media. He is happily married to Sarah, who has just decided to return to university to study psychology. They have just moved house as their old house held some traumatic memories.
Laura Rossi, his Detective sergeant and valued partner, was also an intriguing character. Of Italian descent, she comes from a family with five brothers. She is a good copper who has been very loyal to Murphy over the years of their working in tandem. On this case however, she seems secretive and remote…. Is she hiding something from Murphy?
As the body count increases the police begin to believe that what they suspect might be true.
If you’re wondering just how the Sam Byrne case and the case of the missing baby, Molly are connected… Well, I guess you’ll just have to read this novel and discover it for yourself.
“When it’s one word against another, those without power always lose”.
This is a well-rendered, character-rich, British police procedural. A novel of revenge, guilt, atonement, and of lives ruined. I would highly recommend this series to all who enjoy a good mystery/crime thriller. Though some events in the novel were predictable, there was a good twist near the end that readers will appreciate. When time permits I plan to revisit this series and start at the beginning. Wish me luck!
Here are the great book covers of this series so far: (including a mid-series novella)
Luca Veste is married with two young daughters. He is a former civil servant, actor, singer and guitarist.
He is the author of the Murphy and Rossi novels
which are part psychological thriller, part police procedural.
His novels have been bestsellers in both paperback and ebook. He was born and raised on Merseyside, living on both sides of the River Mersey. He is also second generation Italian and one of nine children.