|Car dealer Frank Tanner's wife, Carol, is missing. Carol's 26-year-old sister, Molly Gideon, a recovered junkie, is certain that her brother-in-law has killed her. One suggestive piece of evidence in the case is a painting by Jack, Frank's six-year-old son, showing a sprawled body with an emergent rainbow that just might represent a shower of arterial blood. The boy insists that it is "a picture of mummy." Guardian Angel to the children, Avenging Angel for her sister; Molly Gideon must rise to the challenge, and become both. But Frank Tanner is a formidable enemy, and Molly's credibility is low.
Stephen Gallagher's tense melodrama (is) spun from the mysterious disappearance of auto dealer Frank Tanner's wife Carol, the stalled police investigation into Frank's possible guilt - and the complications ensuing from the obsessive actions of Carol's burnt-out, former drug-taking younger sister Molly, who knows Frank did away with his wife, and devotes her dwindling energies to protecting the children now in his care and bringing him to justice. —The Washington Post
Cold-blooded murders follow in the race to the climax. Chalk up another winner – brief, merciless and punchy – for Gallagher. —Publishers' Weekly
Convicted thief and former heroin addict Molly Gideon has a job and a flat and is trying to build a new life. She believes her sister, Carol, has been brutally murdered by her brother-in-law, Frank, despite how innocent he appears to the police. To Molly and Dr. Valerie Gartin of the Child Trauma Unit, there is a message hidden in Molly's traumatized young nephew Jack's painting: the "painted bride" as he calls it, is his mother—Carol—throat slit, bleeding on the kitchen floor. Dismissed from her job (is Frank behind that?) and in a "dodgy" borrowed Datsun, Molly sets out to gather evidence against Frank, taking Jack and his sister "on holiday" for their safety. Will police believe her interpretation of the painting? Will she protect the children and secure justice for Carol's death? Gallagher's compelling thriller doesn't miss a beat, not even for the occasional puzzling (to Americans) Briticism, and should win him fans eager to read his next outing. —Booklist