The Stolen Children by Michael Wood | @MichaelHWood @0neMoreChapter_

Author : Michael Wood
Title : The Stolen Children
Series : DCI Matilda Darke #6
Pages : 374
Publisher : One More Chapter
Publication date : October 2, 2020

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Some cases won’t die.
A young boy walks into a police station in France. He claims to be Carl Meagan – a missing child from Sheffield whose name is still whispered as a warning to kids who stay out after dark.
 
Some children won’t be found.
On her way home from the supermarket, nine-year-old Keeley Armitage vanishes without trace. Her family is overcome with shock and DCI Matilda Darke can’t help but focus on memories of the Carl Meagan case that almost ruined her career.
 
Some killers won’t be stopped.
As Matilda investigates, she peels back the layers of grief and sadness that surround Keeley’s family. Until she is left with an unimaginable choice: betray those closest to her or let a violent killer walk free.

| MY THOUGHTS |

When nine year old Keeley disappears without a trace and a ransom demand is made, Matilda can’t help but be overwhelmed by the memories of the Carl Meagan case. A case that went horribly wrong and almost ruined her career, as any long-time reader of this series knows very well. Matilda is determined that won’t happen again. But will she be able to stay focused when she hears that a young boy has walked into a police station in France claiming he is the missing Carl?

The Stolen Children is the sixth book in the DCI Matilda Darke series and it goes without saying that you should of course read them all in order from the very beginning. Not only because of the Carl Meagan arc, not only because of the team dynamics, not only because each and every book in this series is brilliant, but also because it’ll give you the opportunity to see how Matilda has evolved. She has always been fierce and determined but also really vulnerable. Partly due to the case of the missing Carl Meagan that’s been haunting her for years, made worse by the fact it coincided with one of the worst events of her personal life. Could it be the time to heal and move on has finally come?

The prologue alone already made me sit up and pay attention, especially because lucky me didn’t read the book blurb beforehand so I had no idea what was coming. From then on, it felt as if I barely managed to take a breath. The pace of this story seemed almost relentless with things happening left, right and centre. Every time I thought I had it all figured out, something would throw me off and make me doubt my theory. I wasn’t at all prepared for how dark and disturbing this tale would turn out to be. It sometimes made for some uncomfortable reading and each shocking revelation felt like a punch to the gut. By the end, I couldn’t quite decide if I should have been feeling angry or devastated or both.

Luckily, there are some lighter moments throughout. This is where the fantastic team dynamics Michael Wood has set up throughout the years really come into play. Just like the team needs to be able to joke around for a bit in the midst of all the ugliness they deal with it, the reader too needs that teensie-weensie moment to have a wee chuckle. But if you’ve been following this series, then you also know this is an author who has no qualms whatsoever putting these beloved characters in danger.

With lots of questions that need answers, tension and suspense, a gripping plot and great characters, The Stolen Children is another fantastic addition to the DCI Matilda Darke series. Deeply addictive, it provided me with the perfect escape during a week that seemed filled with truckloads of craziness and Michael Wood has once again made sure I will definitely be back for more from Matilda and her team.

The Stolen Children is available to buy. Support your local bookshops or visit Bookshop.org UK

With thanks to the publisher for the review copy!

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