Review: ‘A Map of the Dark’ is a solid police procedural
“A Map of the Dark” (Mulholland) by Karen Ellis
Childhood violence can breed violence. But for Elsa Myers, a violent childhood gave her an insight that she uses daily as an FBI special agent in the Child Abduction Rapid Deployment Unit based in New York City.
Elsa’s past has helped her excel at her job, especially in finding children. But it has left her an emotional wreck in this thrilling launch of a new series by Karen Ellis, a pseudonym for author Katia Lief. “A Map of the Dark” works well as a solid police procedural and also an in-depth character study of how an emotionally fragile woman can put aside her personal problems to focus on others.
Elsa is called to Queens to assist Detective Lex Cole in the investigation of the disappearance of 17-year-old Ruby Haverstock. Her parents and the police believe Ruby was abducted from the cafe where she worked part-time. The case is especially puzzling as Elsa and Lex try to figure out why Ruby turned off the security cameras just before she vanished. At the same time, Elsa’s father is dying and she and her sister, Tara, alternate being with him. Elsa loves her father, yet she also blames him for not stopping the abuse that she suffered from her mother.
Ellis employs multiple points of view, alternating between Elsa’s private and professional life while keeping a tightly focused plot. Elsa maps out the darkness of a predator that preys on teenagers while navigating her own dark place.