Persons Unknown is the second police procedural following Detective Sergeant Manon Bradshaw, following up Missing, Presumed. Manon's character is growing and changing throughout. She is five months pregnant at the start. And she has adopted Fly Dent, a quiet teenager whose family died in the previous book. Looking for a change of pace in their hectic life and a better quality of friends for Fly, they move from London to Cambridgeshire with Manon's sister, Ellie, and her toddler son, Solly. Life is moving along well for them until a murder investigation throws everything into chaos.
Jon-Oliver Ross, Solly's father, is stabbed to death in a park and Fly is the main suspect. What follows is a look at how the police often railroad an investigation to cover indiscretions, missteps, and forge the easiest path to close a case. With Manon's determined work ethic, a solicitor's dogged pursuit of justice, and Detective Davy Walker's disillusionment with the force they work to free Fly from a dangerous children's home.
During the investigation, we're given a look at London's City trader’s secret lives of excess. The escorts, the drugs, and the mind-boggling money being traded and hidden from governments shows a whole different side of the buttoned-up, elite stockbrokers and financial advisers. With multiple suspects, tons of motives, and Fly's unraveling from bullying the story moves at a quick clip and never loses steam.
This is a series to savor. The writing is clever and sharp. The back and forth dialogue with Manon and anyone she is talking to is delightfully entertaining because of her sharp tongue and quick observations. The growth of Davy's characters is pronounced. It is encouraging to watch Davy grow up and come to terms with the seriousness of his job. Steiner's characters are well done and engaging. Perfect for fans of Tana French and Kate Atkinson's Jackson Brodie series.