Marianne's Reviews > One Last Child

One Last Child by Anni Taylor
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Read 2 times. Last read May 1, 2020 to May 3, 2020.

One Last Child is the first book in the Tallman’s Valley Detectives series by Australian author, Anni Taylor. It was a regular outing at The Ponds nature reserve for the pre-schoolers at Tallman’s Valley. Nineteen three-year-olds got to roll in the grass, kick pinecones, run around and play. A picnic was just being put out when the senior carer saw there were some kids missing: were they hiding? Nola Hobson had been seeing off the noisy ice-cream van up the hill, but Justine and Kaylee searched to no avail: five children were missing.

Detective Kate Wakeland usually worked homicide, but her granddaughter Ivy was one of those missing. Her boss didn’t allow her onto the team until over three years later, when there was still no trace of the kids. Now, things begin to happen. Suddenly, four of the children are returned, unharmed and well, to their parents. But not Ivy. This prompts the question of it being some sort of revenge against Kate by or on behalf of a convicted criminal.

Kate doesn’t agree and, ignoring the strikeforce team leader’s direction, makes progress by her own methods with the hunt for the abductors. But her pending murder cold case is a distraction, as is her ongoing troubled relationship with her daughter, Abby, Ivy’s mother. Nonetheless, her deductions on both cases are well thought out and good progress is made.

Taylor really captures her Blue Mountains setting well. The plot has red herrings, a whole school of them, and a neck-wrenching twist, but there are a few holes (see my spoiler question here, and motive is not quite convincing, nor will every reader be persuaded by the calibre of these characters to invest in the follow up, especially if it also extends to almost five hundred pages: some judicious editing would have improved this.

The main action takes place in mid-2020 and, while it doesn't affect the rating, of course no author setting their book into the near future could have predicted that future would be written by Stephen King. This is a page-turner that doesn’t quite deliver on its promise.
This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Books Go Social.
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Reading Progress

January 17, 2020 – Shelved
January 17, 2020 – Shelved as: to-read
May 1, 2020 – Started Reading
May 1, 2020 –
May 2, 2020 –
May 3, 2020 –
May 3, 2020 –
May 3, 2020 – Finished Reading
August 8, 2020 – Started Reading (Audible Audio Edition)
August 8, 2020 – Shelved (Audible Audio Edition)
August 8, 2020 –
9.0% (Audible Audio Edition)
August 9, 2020 –
34.0% (Audible Audio Edition)
August 10, 2020 –
68.0% (Audible Audio Edition)
August 11, 2020 –
100.0% (Audible Audio Edition)
August 11, 2020 – Finished Reading (Audible Audio Edition)

Comments Showing 1-3 of 3 (3 new)

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message 1: by Dale (new) - added it

Dale Harcombe Good balanced review Marianne.

Marianne Thanks, Dale

Mephala Great review!

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