Tag Archives: Mike Nash

‘Vanish Without a Trace,’ by Bill Kitson

The adventures of Yorkshire Detective Inspector Mike Nash continue in Vanish Without a Trace, the second book in the series by Bill Kitson.

When a young woman named Sarah Kelly fails to return home after heading out to a nightclub one evening, her mother contacts the police. Although such missing persons reports usually come to nothing, Mike Nash is impressed with the mother’s story. But as time passes, no trace of the girl is found, except for her purse, lying in an alley.

A chance comment gets Mike thinking about other disappearances. Some research reveals that there has been a string of similar disappearances all across the north of England – and in each case, the missing girl looks like a sister to all the others. Is it even possible to identify and stop a killer who leaves no clues, leaves no bodies, and moves all over the map? Mike and his team will try, but the threat will come very close to home.

Vanish Without a Trace was a little less high-tension than the previous volume, What Lies Beneath. That’s OK with me; I prefer mysteries to thrillers. My problem with this series is an element I’d hoped would be a one-off with the first volume – Inspector Nash gets clues from prophetic dreams. To my mind, this moves the books into the realm of Paranormal Fiction, against which I’m prejudiced. So I won’t be reading any more of the Mike Nash books, though they are fascinating and highly readable.

Your mileage may vary. Cautions for the sort of thing you’d expect.

‘what Lies Beneath,’ by Bill Kitson

In a Yorkshire tarn (a mountain lake), a fisherman snags a human skull. When divers are sent in, they find two skeletons, both of young girls. Skeletal abnormalities indicate that they were sexually abused for a long time.

Detective Inspector Mike Nash, who recently relocated from London to Yorkshire, is on the case, though distracted by concern over his girlfriend, who is hospitalized and paralyzed. It’s soon apparent that they’re dealing with international human traffickers, which brings a visit from Russian police, including a very attractive – and ruthless – woman. Their Anglo-Russian alliance will be up against a criminal conspiracy led by well-financed and very dangerous men. Men for whom human life is meaningless, and no atrocity out of the question.

That’s the premise of What Lies Beneath, first in a series of novels I’ll be following up with. Author Bill Kitson sets a good scene and does good prose. I liked his characters and got caught up in the suspense. The plot had some holes, it seemed to me, but (as in a movie) things moved along so quickly that this reader just went along with it.

Mike Nash is unusual as a fictional detective in that he has prophetic dreams. He doesn’t always understand them, and he insists he’s not psychic. I am prejudiced against this sort of thing, but it does add to narrative interest.

More character descriptions would have been welcome. There’s one character named “Viv” who is only revealed to be a man after some pages, and only revealed to be black toward the end of the book.

Imperfect but cinematically engaging, I enjoyed What Lies Beneath. I was also horrified by some of the details of the human trafficking industry, which the author claims are genuine. Cautions for shocking content, plus the usual.