Source: Review Copy
Publication : Mulholland Books on 11th January 2018
A girl missing
A woman, searching
A killer, planning…
FBI Agent Elsa Myers finds missing people.
She knows how it feels to be lost…
Though her father lies dying in a hospital north of New York City, Elsa cannot refuse a call for help. A teenage girl has gone missing from Forest Hills, Queens, and during the critical first hours of the case, a series of false leads hides the fact that she did not go willingly.
With each passing hour, as the hunt for Ruby deepens into a search for a man who may have been killing for years, the case starts to get underneath Elsa’s skin. Everything she has buried – her fraught relationship with her sister and niece, her self-destructive past, her mother’s death – threatens to resurface, with devastating consequences.
In order to save the missing girl, she may have to lose herself…and return to the darkness she’s been hiding from for years.
Oh my goodness this is a splendid book that had me spellbound right from the prologue. Elsa Myers is a mentally scarred FBI agent, working with the Child Abduction Rapid Deployment Unit which specialises in finding missing children. Elsa is especially good at her job with this unit, because she knows what it is like to feel lost.
Her father is dying, and her sister Tara and niece Mel are on the way to wait vigil by his bedside at the hospital when she gets a call alerting her to the disappearance of 17 year old Ruby Haverstock. FBI help has been called in by Detective Lex Cole of the Forest Hills precinct.
Lex and Elsa will work together to find out what happened to Ruby, but along the way they will realise that what they have found is a serial killer and the lives of more than one child may be dependent upon their ability to track down the perpetrator.
A Map of the Dark majors on character development and the relationships between Elsa and her father and Elsa and Lex are critical to the strength of the book. There is depth in these relationships and in Elsa, Ellis has created a character that you just want more of.
It is the establishing of character that takes the forefront in this book, which I don’t mind at all if these are going to be recurring characters in a series. The plot took something of a back seat but has the requisite twists and turns although one particular plot point seemed did feel cliched.
Nevertheless this is a gripping, dark and enjoyable read and I really liked the partnership between and the characters of Elsa and Lex, which was what made me value it above a standard thriller.
About Karen Ellis
Karen Ellis is the pseudonym of longtime crime fiction author Katja Lief. Katja is a member of International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime and the Authors Guild. She is the author of several internationally bestselling crime novels, including The Money Kill, the fourth installment of her Karin Schaeffer series published in 2013 by HarperCollins and nominated for the Mary Higgins Clark Award. She teaches fiction writing at The New School in Manhattan and lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.