Trick or Treat is the seventh book in the Imogen Grey and Adrian Miles series. Over this remarkable series, Katerina Diamond has keenly developed her two main characters with authentic complexity, often experiencing emotional and psychological turmoil while maintaining effective capabilities as detectives to unravel many intricate plots. I am invested in these fascinating and likeable characters and have become deeply attached to their well-being. While multiple threads are running through this story, there are two main themes: solving a crime and dealing with the raw psychological distress Adrian Miles faces following a brutal attack he suffered in the previous book Woman in the Water. Let me take a moment to state that reading the last book, at least, would be helpful before reading this one.
Marcus Carlyle is a six-year-old boy, and he is kidnapped outside his home on Halloween by two men in a white van. The only witness is Jason Hitchin, who, after being dumped by his girlfriend, decides to break into her home while her family are away on holiday and dish out some vented-up damage. Jason not only sees the kidnappers but manages to get a video recording. While he doesn’t share the video, he does let the police know anonymously that the child has been kidnapped. The information gives the police a head start before the ransom is demanded, although the case will still be complex. DS Imogen Grey runs point on the case, and she has a very early suspect. The challenge is tracking down Marcus before anything deadly happens and proving her suspicions that the suspect is responsible. The case is brilliantly worked, and this is an excellent police procedural investigation with a roller-coaster ride of suspense, certainty, anxiety, hope, panic and … the unknown.
It is a rare occurrence where a police thriller focuses so perceptively on a relationship between the protagonists. Adrian and Imogen have been in a relationship for some time, but since the last brutal assault on Adrian, he has left the police force, and he finds it impossible to reveal his vulnerability and feelings with Imogen. Adrian’s behaviour drives Imogen away, and the emotional pain from both perspectives is very delicately portrayed. The threads will come together in a race against time, and we hope the solution is the one we want.
From Katerina’s first book, it is recognisable how fearless she is in shocking the reader. None of her characters are safe, have flaws, many are highly capable, and the mix provides a diverse range of intriguing personalities and relationships. The balance between the two main themes in this novel was perfect, and the atmosphere created in both added to the enthralling storyline. For fans of Katerina Diamond, this book is one of her best, and I highly recommend it. I want to thank Avon Books and NetGalley for providing a free ARC in return for an honest review.