In Retriever of Souls, book 1 of the DI Sterling Series, Paolo Sterling and his team were hunting for a serial killer targeting prostitutes. This led them to question the women working the street trade for information as they tried to identify the monster taking lives. It wasn’t lost on Paolo many of the females he encountered were barely into their teens.
Connections made during that investigation are front and center in Children in Chains as Paolo searches for the person responsible for trafficking females for sex. But, it’s even worse than any of them believed. Teenage girls are forced to work the streets only after they are abused, violated, and addicted to drugs at an even younger age.
The DI is overwhelmed at times by everything around him—the dead ends his case keeps hitting because people are too terrified of the consequences of talking to the police; the cracks his team is showing; his fortieth birthday and the state of his personal life, and the physical recovery of his sixteen-year-old daughter, Katy, from the near-fatal attack she suffered in book 1. But don’t count the gutsy teen out yet. While she may still have a lot to come to terms with mentally and emotionally, she’s not one sit around and veg out. Love her spirit and wouldn’t be at all surprised if she followed in her dad’s footsteps.
Of course, with Katy, comes Paolo’s ex-wife, Lydia, who’s still an insufferable cow, placing blame for all wrong in her life on his shoulders.
Despite all that, Sterling is no less focused on the case, his frustration and anger always rumbling just below the surface.
He perks up after interviewing an aging rocker he suspects is connected with the trafficking, but is thrown for a loop and blindsided by betrayal from a member of his team. But Paolo also soon discovers the ringleader he’s searching for could have been in front of him all along.
Children in Chains in not an easy read. Stephen King said, “Fiction is the truth inside the lie,” and this author has done an extraordinary job of weaving just enough of the truth through the story to not only create an engrossing, suspenseful read but also incite heartache and sympathy for the victimized children as well as rage for their tormentors.
And just when I thought dealings with Lydia—remember her?—were relegated to the back burner, she’s had an epiphany, God, help us, and I was right there, cringing with Paolo.
Can Children in Chains be read as a standalone? Yes, but I don’t recommend it. While all the elements needed for the story are in this story, this series centers on Paolo Sterling, and while his character is evolving, he’s not dramatically changing overnight. The changes are subtle and readers should know where he’s been to understand where he’s headed. Grab books 1 and 2!
The second chapter in a new dark and gritty crime series.
Detective Inspector Paolo Sterling is determined to shut down the syndicate flooding Bradchester’s streets with young prostitutes.
When a child is murdered, Paolo becomes aware of a sinister network of abusers spread across Europe, and spanning all levels of society. But Joey, the shadowy leader of the gang, always seems to be one step ahead in the chase.
Has Paolo come up against a criminal he cannot defeat?
Price Drop Alert!
Children In Chains is on offer at 99p/99c across all Amazon stores until June 15!