Not only is this a fantastic police procedural that introduces us to DI Robyn Bailley but it’s an important one for the crime fiction genre.
From the back cover:
How do you find a missing child when his mother doesn’t believe you have the right to exist?
When Detective Inspector Roger Bailley returns to work as Robyn, all she wants is to get on with the job she loves while finally being herself.
When toddler Ben Chivers is snatched from a shopping centre on her first day back at work, Robyn has to find Ben – and herself – as she deals with the reactions of her police colleagues, the media and her own daughter.
In this book the author, Alex Clare, addresses the topic of gender dysphoria. This is something you rarely see in crime fiction. I’ve been reading for many years and it’s certainly something I haven’t come across before. Clare is breaking down barriers with this one!
You may be wondering, is the storyline any good or is this book just destined to be a success because it features a transgendered detective? The storyline is that good! The topic of gender dysphoria has been weaved seamlessly in to the story making it an enjoyable easy read. The action starts right away – a child is missing – the tense atmosphere has been created, and that atmosphere continued throughout the book, which made it a one-sitting read for me. Concluding with a great plot twist, I was way off the mark when I made my predictions at the start of the book.
Clare has created a great fictional character in DI Robyn Bailley, she is extremely likable and I found myself rooting for her from very early on, hoping she found Ben safe and sound, as knowing the media, they would devour her if she puts a foot wrong in this case. There were parts of the story where I really felt for Robyn, there’s some awkward moments with colleagues, her police ID still shows her as Roger (so that’s always going to be awkward) and the reaction of Ben’s mother, Melissa, who clearly does not approve of Robyn. Have you ever wanted to slap a fictional character, like come on Melissa, she’s trying to find your son! I really enjoyed this story, I have now been introduced to Robyn and I am looking forward to seeing how her character develops in the next book.
Before I wrap up this review, I just want to say this is one of my favourite book covers, if a book hasn’t been recommended to me, the cover is the first thing I take into account when deciding where this book should fall in my TBR. There’s something about the colour scheme and the simple image of the child’s jumper on the floor that caught my attention and really made me want to read this book. Possibly because red is a very common colour for school jumpers, I remember my school jumper was red, and it made me think ‘this is going to be a believable story’. And what a clever idea for the book’s title; ‘He’s Gone’ because Roger has gone and Robyn is here to stay and ‘He’s Gone’ because a child is missing. Details like this show the author has put a lot of thought into the entirety of the book. Authors – this is acknowledged and appreciated by us readers!