Gone by midnight by Candice Fox

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Crimson Lake bk. 3. Bantam, 2019. ISBN: 9780143789154.
(Age: 16+) Recommended. Themes: Crime, Detectives. Ted Conkaffey is back with his partner, Amanda Pharrell, in a suspenseful, locked room mystery. Following on from the success of the first two books in this series, Crimson Lake and Redemption Point, Fox once again writes an engrossing story that keeps the reader guessing right until its thrilling conclusion. Four young boys had been left alone in a locked room, while their parents dine downstairs. When one of the parents checks on the children, they discover one of them is missing and no trace of his whereabouts can be found on the CCTV of the building. Conkaffey and Amanda are brought in by the parent of the missing child and begin to investigate what has really happened that night.
Lovers of mysteries and police procedurals will really enjoy this story, trying to follow the clues and work out just what has happened to the young boy. Amanda's abrasive personality and quirky dialogue brings some welcome relief to the story, and Fox's exploration of the joys and responsibilities of parenthood adds depth to the mystery. Ted is supposed to be caring for his daughter Lillian, at the time of the investigation, and has to call on his friend to help childmind while he leaves to follow leads, and Sara, the mother of the missing boy, is fighting her ex-husband for custody. The background of the crocodile infested Crimson Lake in Northern Queensland, Amanda's bikie friends and her stalker all add colour and vitality to a clever and well written book.
Ned Kelly award winning author, Fox, gives enough background for this to be read as a stand-alone crime story, but new readers would find that the first two in the series are well worth pursuing.
Pat Pledger