The haunting new novel from an acclaimed crime writer - Laurence Schofield's world was torn apart when his teenage daughter vanished. No trace was ever found. But six years later, a TV crew filming in London records a few seconds' footage of a girl who just could be her. Schofield heads for the capital. But this isn't the London of the tourist brochures: it's the Tinderbox, an area of dangerous dereliction where the homeless have created an alternative society with its own rules...
The haunting new novel from an acclaimed crime writer - Laurence Schofield's world was torn apart when his teenage daughter vanished. No trace was ever found. But six years later, a TV crew filming in London records a few seconds' footage of a girl who just could be her. Schofield heads for the capital. But this isn't the London of the tourist brochures: it's the Tinderbox, an area of dangerous dereliction where the homeless have created an alternative society with its own rules . . .
Six years after the disappearance of Laurence Schofield's vivacious 15-year-old daughter, Cassie, the Birmingham architect desperately chases a clue to her whereabouts in this socially conscious stand-alone from prolific British author Bannister (Breaking Faith). Tom, Cassie's younger brother, believes he spots her in a school documentary about the homeless in London, and Schofield becomes obsessed with finding his daughter-opening wounds that he and his wife, Jan, had covered but not allowed to heal. He leaves Birmingham for London on a search that will take him to the Tinderbox, the titular brutish underworld even the police fear to enter, where he forms a relationship with a homeless teenage boy, Jonah, who saves his life. Schofield's journey rocks his solid middle-class values and notions of family, and forces him to make difficult moral choices. Bannister once again proves herself a skilled storyteller in this poignant, memorable story. (Feb.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Bannister takes a break from her Brodie Farrell/Daniel Hood series (Breaking Faith, 2005, etc.) for an authentic London nightmare: a father's desperate search for the daughter who vanished six years ago. There was no reason the day of Cassie Schofield's clarinet exam should have been any different from any other. But after her father, a Birmingham architect, dropped her off in front of her music school, she seems to have been swallowed up. Laurence and Jan Schofield have had six years since then to wonder whether she's dead or alive, whether she ran off on a whim or planned to escape in advance, whether she left willingly or under duress. So when their son Tom glimpses someone he thinks might be his sister on a documentary about the London homeless, it's not surprising that Jan can't face the possibility that her daughter is still alive. "I tried love," she spits at her husband. "See where it got me!" Laurence, unable to let go of this last hope, follows the trail to London, where he swiftly learns just how mean the streets can be. Descending into the bowels of the underworld called the Tinderbox, he finds predatory kids, ruthless street gangs fighting deadly turf wars and dangers he literally can't comprehend. Redemption comes from a wholly unexpected quarter. The rabbit-hole world Bannister evokes is so relentlessly and convincingly sordid that her quietly hopeful ending seems nothing short of miraculous.
The author of over twenty acclaimed novels, Jo Bannister started her career as a journalist after leaving school at sixteen to work on a local weekly newspaper. Shortlisted for several prestigious awards, she left a career as an editor to pursue her writing full time. She lives in Northern Ireland and is currently working on her next novel. "Breaking Faith "is the fifth in her series featuring Brodie Farrell, Daniel Hood, and Jack Deacon.