Friday, April 10, 2015
Behind Closed Doors by Elizabeth Haynes
Ten years ago, fifteen-year-old Scarlett Rainsford disappeared while on a family vacation in Greece. It was unclear if she was kidnapped or whether she ran away. No body was ever found and given the difficulties of coordinating with another country, the case went cold. The family was of little help and seemed strange. The father was controlling and the mother seemed childish. The younger sister was very high strung and seemed to have mental issues.
It was one of the first cases of Detective Lou Smith's career, and she was frustrated and disappointed when the case wasn't solved or any clues developed that led to any conclusions. Now, Lou has been promoted and as the head of a team, handles multiple cases. Yet when she hears that Scarlett has been found, alive and well and back in England, she finds time to get involved in the case.
Scarlett was kidnapped all those years ago. She was forced into prostitution and spent years in various dingy apartments, forced to please men and turn the money over to the pimps. She had no friends, as girls came and went, and most were too tired and shell-shocked to try to form friendships. Scarlett was constantly watched, beat up, and given new names periodically. After a decade, she managed to get away and make her way back to England.
Lou and her team work with the police on the task force on sex trafficking. There are other connections. Scarlett had been working in one of the establishments of the local crime boss. Was this just the only job someone without papers or an education could get, or was Scarlett involved in his crimes? There seems to be a rivalry heating up in the underworld, and Scarlett seems to know about this. Then there is her family. They don't seem that excited or interested in Scarlett's return. Why aren't they rushing to her side and her defense?
Elizabeth Haynes is a former police intelligence analyst. This is her fifth novel, and the second one with Detective Lou Smith. Her former occupation leads authenticity to the novel, giving the reader valuable insight into the real workings of a police investigation. The book also highlights the horrific world of sex trafficking, a real problem throughout the world, and one that is a top issue for feminists and other women. This book is recommended for mystery readers who enjoy police procedurals.