DCI Anna Travis is not pleased when her supervisor asks her to take on a missing person's case. Travis is a homicide detective, and she isn't interested in this kind of routine task. Still, the missing man is the son of one of the boss's friends who also is an employee at the local court, so she doesn't have much room to complain.
The man, Alan Rawkins, is twenty-six years old. He lives a quiet life, working as a skilled mechanic and living with his fiancé, Tina,
as they save for the wedding and their first house. Everyone Anna talks to reports Alan as being a quiet man, non-confrontational with hobbies like renovating classic cars and surfing.
But as Anna looks into the case more, things start to seem strange. It has been six weeks since anyone has seen Alan. His credit cards and bank accounts are untouched, and his cell phone isn't getting or making any calls. His car is in the garage where he works, and if he has packed and gone somewhere, it isn't evident from looking in his closet.
Beneath the surface that Alan showed to the world, there are dark secrets. The more Anna investigates, the more likely it is that something has happened to Alan--and that he was not the bland, quiet man he showed the world. It soon seems that everyone Anna encounters has secrets they are desperately attempting to hide. Can she break through the layers of deceit to find Alan?
This is the seventh novel in the Anna Travis mystery series, but readers who haven't yet read La Plante will find it works as a standalone also. The police procedures ring true and show the real work of detectives, which is not the flashes of intuition that are common on TV detective shows but the result of painstaking research, forensic results, and the slow peeling away of layers of lies. This book is recommended for mystery readers.