It is rare and far between I write a review, but this one you must read.
Barry Crowther’s Missing
We enter the novel, “Prison does strange things to a man.”
Matt Spears is a man trying to hold it together. Things at home with the wife are on the edge of divorce. He is barely surviving on the business inherited from his father, the Buffalo Collections Agency, when two cops arrive ready to pin a wrap on Spears.
The setting is Manchester England, not the dark Victorian River Irwell but a contemporary crime riddled city of pornography and gangs. Crowther uses the smoky backdrop as Raymond Chandler employed Los Angeles with grace and a bit of humor.
Spears is insulated by his forensic accountant cold sidekick, Nathan Draper, and his trusted office assistant Trudy (not drawn as either the typical blonde bombshell or matronly aid). Spear makes a deal with the devil, the gangster Vincent Barbour (no relation to my ex-husband). Spear must uncover what happened to Barbour’s niece Emma. The cast of strange characters pins the book in the reader’s hands until we uncover what happened to Emma.
Crowther saves us from describing the long legs of the porn victims with mastery. I do not need to hear it and he uses the depravity to add to the suspense. I am reminded of Expressionist paintings of Georg Baselitz with spellbinding threats looming over Spears. Crowther nails the noir thriller to equal Larsson’s trilogy with our flawed hero in the center. I suggest another parallel to a Scandinavian writer of the same title, Karin Alvtegen’s novel Missing. Her is not similar in plot or story, but in the fireworks. Crowther’s charged language masterfully ignites slang and rapid sentences upon the reader. Crowther’s is a gorgeous use of words.
I started this novel on a Sunday afternoon and remained awake until complete.