Ted is a disgraced ex-cop once accused wrongfully of pedophilia, now working as a private eye in a tough, out-of-the-way town in Australia’s northeast coast. When a boy goes missing at a hotel, he is hired by the boy’s mother to find him. His assistant Amanda is a bizarre, near clairvoyant pistol of an ex-con who despises children. Of course she ends up having to babysit Ted’s li’l darling who is visiting while his ex-wife goes on a lark.
The mystery is well-done and kept me guessing. Ted sounds like every other ex-cop private eye populating mystery novels, but sometimes formulas just work. There is a subplot involving Amanda and a vindictive female cop to add some tension. The overall plot and characters are somewhat too cookie cutter (“derivative” if you’re an artsy-fartsy reviewer) but the writing is rather better than the story line, full of those things you studied in English but never quite remembered like metaphors, similes, and the like. Quite clever ones, too.
The setting is on the rough side, and so is the voice and accent of the reader for the audiobook, yet he was an excellent voice actor and perfect for the story. The roughness camouflaged the sophistication of the style, if not the plot. The ending was all too predictable and unsatisfying in my view, at least once the mystery was solved, but all in all I enjoyed the book. It is #3 in a series, so you might want to start with one of the earlier books.