As time went by and I moved up the ranks to Homicide I realized that some cases don’t get solved…ever. – Sophie Anderson
For thirty years FBI profiler Sophie Anderson thought her brother’s case was one of the ones that was going to go unsolved forever.
Just a young girl when her slightly older brother was kidnapped and murdered, the event left a deep impression on Sophie which drove her into law enforcement. She worked her way up through the ranks of the Victoria Police department in her home country of Australia, eventually making it to a position in Homicide.
Her college background in psychology, and dual citizenship because of her father’s status as an American, got Sophie’s foot in the door where she really wanted to be: criminal profiling with the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit. Little could she have imagined that after years of profiling kidnappers, rapists, and murders she would actually be called upon to put her skills to use in a case that hit far too close to home.
Yet, that’s exactly where she finds herself when a call from her parents back in Australia informs Sophie that the police have found the body of a young boy murdered in a virtually identical manner as her brother was, dumped within a stone’s throw of the remote location where her brother’s body was found all those years ago. Now, on leave from her position with the FBI, Sophie heads back home to Australia in hopes that solving this modern day nightmare will help put to rest the demons from her past.
While the main tension in Coming Home is provided by the police hunt for the killer – tension which is ratcheted up significantly when another boy goes missing during the course of their investigation – there is another layer of tension simultaneously unfolding within Sophie herself. The deeper she gets into the current investigation, the deeper she must also go into her thoughts and feelings about her brother’s murder. It’s a place that holds tremendous guilt for her because in the week leading up to her brother’s kidnapping Sophie had nightmares in which she saw him being abducted. Though she was only a child at the time and it’s unlikely anyone would have taken her nightmares to be anything more than just that, Sophie has carried around a feeling of guilt for 30 years wondering what might have happened if she’d told someone. Now, driven by the dual desires to save the boy currently missing as well as to find justice for her brother, Sophie is willing to do whatever it takes to makes sure this killer is stopped.
Author PD Martin does a great job of working the inner turmoil Sophie is experiencing into the bigger plot. Though she desperately wants to be treated as a professional colleague and kept in the loop of the investigation, Sophie continuously struggles to maintain the emotional distance needed to be a truly effective profiler in a case that has the potential to solve her brother’s murder as well. Her raging desire for revenge comes dangerously close to compromising her judgment, constantly threatening to get the better of her. Yet she isn’t blinded by her emotions, and struggles throughout to keep her professional focus. Neither emotional basket case nor ice cold revenge machine, Sophie is presented in a tremendously believable fashion, and it was nice to read a book that managed to treat the protagonist as a three-dimensional person. Indeed, Coming Home is one of those rare thrillers that manages to deliver on both the action and the character development.
Though Coming Home is technically the sixth book in the Sophie Anderson series, it was written in such a manner that it can be read as a standalone, so even if you’ve never read any of the previous books in the series don’t let that keep you from jumping in here. And be sure to check out Martin’s guest post from yesterday, in which she shares the fascinating story of how Coming Home came to be.