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Ransomed

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Some secrets are too big to bury… Investigative journalist Emma Hunter never thought she’d be a bestselling author. Especially not for a blistering exposé of the brutal horrors committed at a children’s home. Some secrets breed in the dark… All she wants is to return home to the anchoring salt air and solitude of Weymouth where questions still fester unanswered and a twent Some secrets are too big to bury… Investigative journalist Emma Hunter never thought she’d be a bestselling author. Especially not for a blistering exposé of the brutal horrors committed at a children’s home. Some secrets breed in the dark… All she wants is to return home to the anchoring salt air and solitude of Weymouth where questions still fester unanswered and a twenty-year-old secret binds her to the beach. And some of them always escape… But then she finds herself sucked into the chaos of another cold case and soon realises the search for the missing girl will not only unearth the rot ravaging the safety of children across the south of England, but could even solve the mystery that has tortured her since she was seven years old… Ransomed marks the beginning of a nerve-shredding new crime series of feral reckonings and found family in the face of harrowing inhumanity, perfect for fans of Angela Marsons and Ann Cleeves.


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Some secrets are too big to bury… Investigative journalist Emma Hunter never thought she’d be a bestselling author. Especially not for a blistering exposé of the brutal horrors committed at a children’s home. Some secrets breed in the dark… All she wants is to return home to the anchoring salt air and solitude of Weymouth where questions still fester unanswered and a twent Some secrets are too big to bury… Investigative journalist Emma Hunter never thought she’d be a bestselling author. Especially not for a blistering exposé of the brutal horrors committed at a children’s home. Some secrets breed in the dark… All she wants is to return home to the anchoring salt air and solitude of Weymouth where questions still fester unanswered and a twenty-year-old secret binds her to the beach. And some of them always escape… But then she finds herself sucked into the chaos of another cold case and soon realises the search for the missing girl will not only unearth the rot ravaging the safety of children across the south of England, but could even solve the mystery that has tortured her since she was seven years old… Ransomed marks the beginning of a nerve-shredding new crime series of feral reckonings and found family in the face of harrowing inhumanity, perfect for fans of Angela Marsons and Ann Cleeves.

30 review for Ransomed

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mandy White (mandylovestoread)

    Ransomed by MA Hunter is the first in a series of books dealing with missing children. It was a different take on solving a cold case and I couldn’t get enough. I read this book over 2 nights and cannot wait for the next book already. A great crime novel full of twists and red herrings that will keep you guessing til the very end. It ends on a cliffhanger as well, so you have to get the next one to find out what happens! Emma Hunter is an investigative journalist with a hit book on her hands. She Ransomed by MA Hunter is the first in a series of books dealing with missing children. It was a different take on solving a cold case and I couldn’t get enough. I read this book over 2 nights and cannot wait for the next book already. A great crime novel full of twists and red herrings that will keep you guessing til the very end. It ends on a cliffhanger as well, so you have to get the next one to find out what happens! Emma Hunter is an investigative journalist with a hit book on her hands. She has written an expose on abuse in a boys orphanage, and it has helped police to get a conviction after all these years. She is not one for fame and being recognised, wanting a quiet life back in Weymouth to continue her obsessive search for her missing sister. Anna disappeared 20 years ago and Emma is determined to find her. Before she can escape London she is tracked down by a wealthy man who wants to her her to look into his granddaughters kidnapping a year earlier. Despite what the police have told him he believes that Cassie is still alive. Reluctantly she teams up with DC Jack Seravitz to see if they can find something the police have missed. This is a twisty and surprising story with plenty of red herrings and attempts to make you think the wrong way. Thanks to One Chapter More and Netgalley for my advanced copy of this book to read.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Pat

    This is the first book in the missing children case files. Emma Hunter is an investigative journalist who has published a bestselling true crime book about historic abuse of the children at the St Francis Home for Wayward Boys. Her star is rising since the trial and conviction of the perpetrators. Emma now wants to focus on writing a book about the disappearance of her sister 20 years ago but her publisher has other ideas. Emma is approached by Templeton Lord Fitzhume to find his missing granddau This is the first book in the missing children case files. Emma Hunter is an investigative journalist who has published a bestselling true crime book about historic abuse of the children at the St Francis Home for Wayward Boys. Her star is rising since the trial and conviction of the perpetrators. Emma now wants to focus on writing a book about the disappearance of her sister 20 years ago but her publisher has other ideas. Emma is approached by Templeton Lord Fitzhume to find his missing granddaughter. Emma is not keen, she is a writer not a private investigator, but her agent insists this is what the publisher wants. So she reluctantly accepts the commission. The child, Cassie Hilliard, disappeared a year ago when the chauffeur driven car she was in with her mother was hit with an RPG and Cassie was wrenched out of the wreckage. A few days later there was a ransom demand for £2 million. Something went wrong at the exchange and the van Cassie was in exploded. Everyone assumes the child is dead but the grandfather insists she is not. Because of Lord Fitzhume’s ‘friends in high places’ Emma is given acces to the police files and PC Jack Serrovitz is assigned as her liaison. Emma and Jack make a good team. Jack used to be a detective but stepped into uniform to be able to spend more time with his daughter but he still has the skills. Emma is dogged in her pursuit of the truth and makes many intuitive leaps. Together they uncover a very dark secret about Cassie’s disappearance - but is she still alive or not? It was a pretty good story, the pace could have been a bit faster but there was always the underlying tension about whether the child would be alive, damaged or worse. I imagine Emma will get to investigate more missing children cases as there are more books to come in this series. It was an easy story to read and I haven’t read a book about a missing child for a while. I’ll be keen to see how the next book unfolds. Thanks to Netgalley, HarperCollins UK, One more Chapter and M. A. Hunter for providing a copy to review. My opinions are my own.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Louise Wilson

    Investigative journalist, Emma Hunter never thought that she would be a best selling author. Especially not for a blistering exposé of the brutal horrors committed at a childrens home. This is the first book in a new crime series. Emma Hunter is an investigative journalist who has just written a book about a sex abuse scandal at a boys home. She has been asked to investigate the kidnapping and disappearance of Cassie Hillard by her grandfather, Lord Fitzhume. Cassie has been missing for a year. Investigative journalist, Emma Hunter never thought that she would be a best selling author. Especially not for a blistering exposé of the brutal horrors committed at a childrens home. This is the first book in a new crime series. Emma Hunter is an investigative journalist who has just written a book about a sex abuse scandal at a boys home. She has been asked to investigate the kidnapping and disappearance of Cassie Hillard by her grandfather, Lord Fitzhume. Cassie has been missing for a year. She had been kidnapped on her way home from a friends birthday party. The story is gold in the then and now format. I was quickly pulled into the storyline. It's well written, believable with plenty of twists. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series. Loved this one. I would like to thank #NetGalley, #HarperCollinsUK #OneMoreChapter and the author #MAHunter for my ARC in exchange for an honest review

  4. 4 out of 5

    Maggie

    This was a new to me author, but I was excited when I got the email for the widget, Thrillers are amongst my favorite books. I thought this was a well done thriller with some complex ideas and great storyline. Although it was hard to read as a parent, I still did enjoy it a lot. This is the story of a kidnapped girl, a family looking for answers, and Emma Hunter who has a complicated story as well. She has a sister who was kidnapped when they were children. And she just wants to find answers for This was a new to me author, but I was excited when I got the email for the widget, Thrillers are amongst my favorite books. I thought this was a well done thriller with some complex ideas and great storyline. Although it was hard to read as a parent, I still did enjoy it a lot. This is the story of a kidnapped girl, a family looking for answers, and Emma Hunter who has a complicated story as well. She has a sister who was kidnapped when they were children. And she just wants to find answers for this other family as well. I liked the now and then format. And the book is set up that this seems like it will be a series. This is something I look forward to immensely, I cant wait to read more about these characters once more. Overall, this is a well done book and i look forward to the next installment, Thank you NetGalley and One More Chapter for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Louise Wilson

    Investigative journalist, Emma Hunter never thought that she would be a bestselling author. Especially not for a blistering exposé of the brutal horrors committed at a childrens home. This is the first book on a new crime series. Emma Hunter is an investigative journalist who has just written a book about a sex abuse scandal at a boys home. She has been asked to investigate the kidnapping and disappearance of Cassie Hillard by her grandfather, Lord Fitzhume. Cassie has been missing for a year. Sh Investigative journalist, Emma Hunter never thought that she would be a bestselling author. Especially not for a blistering exposé of the brutal horrors committed at a childrens home. This is the first book on a new crime series. Emma Hunter is an investigative journalist who has just written a book about a sex abuse scandal at a boys home. She has been asked to investigate the kidnapping and disappearance of Cassie Hillard by her grandfather, Lord Fitzhume. Cassie has been missing for a year. She had been kidnapped on her way home from a friends birthday party. The story is told in the tgen and now format. I was quickly pulled into this storyline. It's well written, believable with plenty of twists. On looking forward to reading the next book in this series. Loved this one. I would like to thank #NetGalley, #HarperFiction #OneMoreChapter and the author #MAHunter for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kat Dietrich

    Ransomed by M.A Hunter is the first in The Missing Children Case Files series. First, let me thank NetGalley, the publisher Harper Collins UK (One More Chapter) - in particular Claire Fenby, and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. My Synopsis:   (No major reveals, but if concerned, skip to My Opinions) Emma Hunter is an investigative journalist, who has just published her first book, based on the abuse of childre Ransomed by M.A Hunter is the first in The Missing Children Case Files series. First, let me thank NetGalley, the publisher Harper Collins UK (One More Chapter) - in particular Claire Fenby, and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. My Synopsis:   (No major reveals, but if concerned, skip to My Opinions) Emma Hunter is an investigative journalist, who has just published her first book, based on the abuse of children at a children's home many years ago.  It is a best-seller, and she is suddenly thrust into the lime-light, where she isn't too comfortable sitting. When Lord Fitzhume approaches her to ask for her help in finding his missing grand-daughter, Emma refuses, but he has friends in high places, and it's a done deal.   7-year old Cassie was kidnapped a year ago, and all evidence points to the fact that the ransom exchange went poorly, and she died in an explosion, along with one of the kidnappers.   Fitzhume believes she is alive, and even though Emma hopes that to be the case, she isn't finding any evidence to support that theory. My Opinions: Although I did not find the excitement I had hoped for in this book, I did find a really well-written mystery, an interesting plot, and a new series to read. I enjoyed getting to know Emma, and I  really liked Jack.  Unfortunately, I like neither of Emma's friends.  Both Rachel and Maddie are rather over-bearing, and both seem to have ulterior motives for everything they do.  They just don't seem to be a good fit with Emma.  I hope they will be shown in a better light in books to come. The perpetrator was fairly obvious from the get-go, but it didn't detract from the story.  The twist at the end was unexpected....and a little disheartening. The book is about a child abduction, and that is a rather dark topic, but since it did not actually center around what was happening with the child, it was a little lighter than I expected.  It actually centered around the affects it had on her family, which was tragic enough. I understand that these books will be about Emma (and Jack) searching for missing children, so I am looking forward to continuing  with this series. For a more complete review of this book and others (including author information), please visit my blog: http://katlovesbooksblog.wordpress.com/

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mick Dubois

    This Book is dedicated to all the key workers who kept the world ticking during the lockdown 2020. A very nice thought, I say. After Investigative journalist, Emma Hunter takes down a pedophile ring that operated from an orphanage she’s approached by Templeton, lord Fitzhume. His granddaughter was abducted a year ago. Despite paying 2 million £, the little girl was not returned. The police think she died in an explosion and they don’t search for her anymore. Emma is his last hope. Initially, she This Book is dedicated to all the key workers who kept the world ticking during the lockdown 2020. A very nice thought, I say. After Investigative journalist, Emma Hunter takes down a pedophile ring that operated from an orphanage she’s approached by Templeton, lord Fitzhume. His granddaughter was abducted a year ago. Despite paying 2 million £, the little girl was not returned. The police think she died in an explosion and they don’t search for her anymore. Emma is his last hope. Initially, she wants to refuse but her own sister also disappeared 20 years ago and reluctantly she accepts to find out the truth about the kidnapping. Everybody in the family has secrets that they don’t want exposing and could it have been an inside job? All the players in this drama point the fingers at each other. The impact of the loss of their (grand) daughter has left very deep wounds that haven’t healed in the key players. They’re all struggling with their loss and grief, unable to move on. The characters and effects are painted with a lot of empathy and understanding. The author has created such a realistic set of actors that you can picture them in front of you. There’s a conversation between Emma and Freddy, early on in the book that brought up such strong emotions that I was almost in tears. There are some beautiful people in this book. Emma, the protagonist is a very likeable and sympathetic character. She’s struggling with her newfound fame and doesn’t like it much that she’s suddenly recognised by other people. She’s very down to earth and much prefers to stay in boring old, sandy Weymouth than the hustle and bustle of the bright lights of London. The trope of the main character who’s her/himself the relative of someone who’s disappeared is becoming a bit overused in my opinion. Over the last 3 months, I’ve read at least 5 books with this theme. Although, in this series, it is an essential aspect of the back story. The whole series is already planned and they show the covers at the end of this book. I think that in every book we’ll get 1 or 2 clues as to what has really happened to Emma’s sister and in the last one we’ll find out the whole story. This writer has his heart and mind in the right place. You can notice this when he mentions the lack of respect for health care workers who deserve fame and fortune far more than journalists, models or reality stars. He’s also very serene when he paints the relation between Emma and her mother who suffers from dementia. I don’t know the identity of the author, apart from ‘Stephen’, but the alias he uses relates 100% with the main character’s name. Good pun! I do not like the cover of this book, though. I think it looks cheap and a bit tacky. That’s a real shame because a lot of people do judge a book by its cover. I urge everyone not to do this here. But who am I, maybe you might like it. It’s well worth reading though, this is a beautifully told story about loss, grief, despair and hope. And don’t forget that it is also a suspenseful crime mystery and police procedural; as the journalist is assisted by Jack Serrovitz, a former police detective that works cold cases now as mere PC to spend enough time with his daughter. He’s also a great guy and I feel some romance in the making. The constant change between now and then can be misleading if you don’t pay attention. I was caught out for more than a page before I looked at the header. They’re also not in chronological order, so keep your attention at all times. Be warned that the story still dishes out an unexpected uppercut, just when you think that all is resolved. I eagerly await the next volume in this series. I thank One More Chapter and Netgalley for the free ARC they provided me with and this is my honest unbiased opinion of it.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Julie Lacey

    This is the first book in a new series and it’s a brilliant start. Emma is celebrating the success of a book she’s had published but doesn’t really like the limelight. The subject of the book has attracted a lot of attention as it resulted in people being imprisoned for their crimes in a children’s home. At a PR event Emma is approached and asked to help find a missing girl. Her grandfather is desparate for her help, but Emma is reluctant to agree. Soon it’s taken out of her hands as her publici This is the first book in a new series and it’s a brilliant start. Emma is celebrating the success of a book she’s had published but doesn’t really like the limelight. The subject of the book has attracted a lot of attention as it resulted in people being imprisoned for their crimes in a children’s home. At a PR event Emma is approached and asked to help find a missing girl. Her grandfather is desparate for her help, but Emma is reluctant to agree. Soon it’s taken out of her hands as her publicist tells her it’s going to be the subject of her next book so Emma has no choice. It’s a bit close to home as her own sister was abducted and Emma can’t help but be reminded of this through the investigation. Emma works with Jack to go through the Police files and you can tell it’s the start of a great friendship, and maybe something more.... The last few chapters had me on the edge of my seat and I loved the ending. I really enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read more in the series. Thanks to Harper Collins UK, One More Chapter and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Kelly

    I did not want to put down this thrilling read and it earns a solid 5 star read from me. Ransomed begins when investigative journalist, Emma Hunter, is celebrating the success of her bestselling book which exposes and has brought to justice the men who have historically abused children in care homes. On the strength of her success, Emma is approached by Lord Fitzhume whose granddaughter, Cassie was kidnapped and killed in a ransom exchange that went wrong a year earlier. However, Fitzhume is conv I did not want to put down this thrilling read and it earns a solid 5 star read from me. Ransomed begins when investigative journalist, Emma Hunter, is celebrating the success of her bestselling book which exposes and has brought to justice the men who have historically abused children in care homes. On the strength of her success, Emma is approached by Lord Fitzhume whose granddaughter, Cassie was kidnapped and killed in a ransom exchange that went wrong a year earlier. However, Fitzhume is convinced she is alive and wants Emma to investigate. Ransomed is told using two timelines - the present and also the timeline a year earlier when Cassie is abducted from the family car. This technique is played to its best with both timelines offering equal interest and adding to the mounting tension. Meanwhile, Emma is struggling with her own demons and the tragic abduction of her 9-year-old sister, who was snatched off the streets when Emma was just 7. As the story evolves, the cracks in Cassie’s seemingly privileged life are slowly revealed and how much they have played a part in her demise. Ransomed, is a book to get immersed in, accessible and with lean writing that propels the story at a satisfying speed. The plot and themes are woven together successfully with enough intrigue to keep the reader glued to the seat. The characters are well-drawn and the story moves at an enjoyable pace until its final sprint. I was very invested in knowing what happened to Cassie and how the story would end. Everything is wrapped up in the finale and leaves us at the next stage of Emma’s journey in the search for her sister, at which point, I was frustrated not to have the next book immediately in what looks like the beginning of an excellent series. Highly recommended to fans of crime fiction.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Elaine Tomasso

    I would like to thank Netgalley and HarperCollins for a review copy of Ransomed, the first novel to feature Weymouth based journalist Emma Hunter. Fresh from the success of her first true crime novel Emma is approached by Lord Fitzhume, who asks her if she can find his six year old granddaughter, Cassie Hilliard, who was kidnapped a year ago. I thoroughly enjoyed Ransomed, which is an engrossing read, full of developments and a big twist at the end. The novel has a split timeline, alternating betw I would like to thank Netgalley and HarperCollins for a review copy of Ransomed, the first novel to feature Weymouth based journalist Emma Hunter. Fresh from the success of her first true crime novel Emma is approached by Lord Fitzhume, who asks her if she can find his six year old granddaughter, Cassie Hilliard, who was kidnapped a year ago. I thoroughly enjoyed Ransomed, which is an engrossing read, full of developments and a big twist at the end. The novel has a split timeline, alternating between the present day where Emma investigates Cassie’s disappearance and a year ago with the events surrounding the kidnap and its aftermath. Each one builds logically and linearly offering the reader a broader view of events with Emma’s enquiries being fleshed out by the historical events. The historical events are told in the third person to give objectivity while the present day ones are in Emma’s first person voice. I’m not always a fan of all this switching about but in this case it works well and makes for a compulsive read. I would also like to comment that the writing is very clear and easy to follow and while I might sound like a pseud it is mission focused with no padding or extraneous, unnecessary detail. Emma is no stranger to missing children as her sister, Anna, disappeared 20 years ago when she was nine. Her hunt for her sister consumes her and looks like being a thread in the series. I’m not overly enthusiastic about series threads as I’ve normally forgotten them by the time the next book arrives, so I’ll see. She’s not your normal protagonist as she is shy and awkward in the limelight her book has given her. I could empathise with her refusal to accept praise and need to shrug it off as teamwork. Ransomed is a good read that I have no hesitation in recommending.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Shalini

    Oh wow!! This was a mysterious and twisted story with the missing child trope. Author M. A. Hunter gave me hours of delicious listening as the story took a life of its own and became the focus of my day. Cassie was returning back from a party with her mother when she was abducted. Her parents were devastated. Her grandfather asked a brilliant investigative journalist/author Emma Hunter to find her. This was Emma’s debut into the series where she had one investigation in her laurels and a bestselle Oh wow!! This was a mysterious and twisted story with the missing child trope. Author M. A. Hunter gave me hours of delicious listening as the story took a life of its own and became the focus of my day. Cassie was returning back from a party with her mother when she was abducted. Her parents were devastated. Her grandfather asked a brilliant investigative journalist/author Emma Hunter to find her. This was Emma’s debut into the series where she had one investigation in her laurels and a bestseller book in which she had exposed years of child abuse. She herself had lost her sister 20 years ago and was searching for her. Her passion was fiery and came across when she diligently started digging through files and interviewing people. Author Stephen Edgar/M. A. Hunter was brilliant in her characterization, slowly writing up her backstory. She stood out like abeacon drawing me into the story. When the author said in the afterwords that the characters spoke to him, I could see it in the story. Each of them was distinct and set in their ways. With dual timelines, I got a complete 360 degrees view of what happened on that fateful day and the investigation as it was now. The plot lines had a few unanswered questions which led me to the final reveal long before I reached the last page. My suspect had already been narrowed down to one. I wanted to know if I was right. Fast paced and entertaining, the author sure made it fun to travel the roads that Emma took, peppered with red herrings and clues. Emotions were stacked up well. But it was Emma’s story through and through. Hints of where the next case would head in the last line made me more eager to get to the second book in the Missing Children Case Files series.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Pole

    Ransomed by M.A. Hunter is the first book of the Missing Children's Case Files, and it is a most impressive start. Fans of crime fiction will simply devour this. Emma Hunter is an investigative journalist who has suffered a childhood trauma of her own, making her all the more empathetic as she tells the stories of missing children. When little Cassie Hilliard is abducted, her grandfather approaches Emma with a desperate plea to investigate. Emma is determined to find Cassie before it is too late, Ransomed by M.A. Hunter is the first book of the Missing Children's Case Files, and it is a most impressive start. Fans of crime fiction will simply devour this. Emma Hunter is an investigative journalist who has suffered a childhood trauma of her own, making her all the more empathetic as she tells the stories of missing children. When little Cassie Hilliard is abducted, her grandfather approaches Emma with a desperate plea to investigate. Emma is determined to find Cassie before it is too late, but must simultaneously grapple with the memories that are conjured of her own sister's disappearance more than twenty years earlier. M.A. Hunter has set the bar high for subsequent additions to this series, and I look forward to following along. Many thanks to NetGalley and HarperCollins UK, One More Chapter for an ARC.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Leslie McKee

    This is the first book I've read from this author. I had expected a bit more based on the blurb. The comparison to Murder She Wrote hooked me, but, sadly, I didn't find the connection. This is labeled as a mystery/thriller, but I found the pacing too slow. The characters weren't as developed as I expected. I didn't really care for many, if not most, of them. There was a twist or two I didn't expect, but the majority of things was somewhat predictable. The ending wrapped up a bit too neatly, espec This is the first book I've read from this author. I had expected a bit more based on the blurb. The comparison to Murder She Wrote hooked me, but, sadly, I didn't find the connection. This is labeled as a mystery/thriller, but I found the pacing too slow. The characters weren't as developed as I expected. I didn't really care for many, if not most, of them. There was a twist or two I didn't expect, but the majority of things was somewhat predictable. The ending wrapped up a bit too neatly, especially for one with a sequel. I love this genre, as I love to be kept guessing and given the chance to sleuth things out with the characters. Sadly, that wasn't the case with this book. Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy, but I wasn't required to leave a positive review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bella Killorn

    I was excited to read this based on the great reviews! I found it so long and boring! Probably will be my last by this author!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Brittney Rae

    2.5. I didn’t like this. I wasn’t thrilled at all. I didn’t even care what happened! Emma and her low self-esteem drove me nuts.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kat

    This is a superbly well crafted book that gripped me from the beginning and I really can’t wait for the next in this brilliant new series of The Missing Children Case Files. In this first book we are introduced to Emma Hunter an investigative journalist who is reluctantly brought in to a cold case to try and find the truth of what happened to a kidnapped six year old girl. Her wealthy grandfather is convinced she is still alive after 12 months have passed and so Emma is persuaded by her literary This is a superbly well crafted book that gripped me from the beginning and I really can’t wait for the next in this brilliant new series of The Missing Children Case Files. In this first book we are introduced to Emma Hunter an investigative journalist who is reluctantly brought in to a cold case to try and find the truth of what happened to a kidnapped six year old girl. Her wealthy grandfather is convinced she is still alive after 12 months have passed and so Emma is persuaded by her literary agent to take the case on and so stars a thrilling page turner of a read. I loved the character of Emma who has her own demons as she is still haunted by the disappearance of her older sister twenty years ago and this back story really added to my enjoyment of the read and I am sure that will continue in the next instalment. It was a read that was very compulsive and written in such a way with “then” and “now” that kept the pages turning with an excellently structured plot line and a 5 star book I can highly recommend. My thanks to NetGalley, M A Hunter and Harper Collins UK, One More Chapter for giving me the chance to read the ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Maggie

    Emma Hunter is an investigative journalist. Much to her surprise, her book uncovering a dreadful story of child abuse has become a best seller. Her agent is already pushing her towards the next book. Whilst in London to publicise the book, she is approached by a man who wants her to investigate the disappearance of his grand-daughter. He is a man of wealth & influence & her agent thinks this will be an ideal subject, but the loss of a child is the last thing Emma wants to look into. She is haunt Emma Hunter is an investigative journalist. Much to her surprise, her book uncovering a dreadful story of child abuse has become a best seller. Her agent is already pushing her towards the next book. Whilst in London to publicise the book, she is approached by a man who wants her to investigate the disappearance of his grand-daughter. He is a man of wealth & influence & her agent thinks this will be an ideal subject, but the loss of a child is the last thing Emma wants to look into. She is haunted by the disappearance when they were children. However it seems she has no choice. Along with a police officer who investigates cold cases they find that young Cassie's family are decidedly dysfunctional. This took a while for me to get into but eventually I was hooked & I'm already looking forward to the next in the series. Thanks to Netgalley & the publisher for letting me read & review this book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Chanel Lindsay

    I would firstly like to thank Netgalley and the publishers for allowing me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review. A truly excellent first installment of another book series that I just know that I'm gonna love! I was hooked from start to finish, and simply desperate for some answers! Emma Hunter was flawed, determined, relentless and certainly has a nose for a story. Full of depth, and a childhood tragedy of her own - I just love her, and can't wait to read more from h I would firstly like to thank Netgalley and the publishers for allowing me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review. A truly excellent first installment of another book series that I just know that I'm gonna love! I was hooked from start to finish, and simply desperate for some answers! Emma Hunter was flawed, determined, relentless and certainly has a nose for a story. Full of depth, and a childhood tragedy of her own - I just love her, and can't wait to read more from her! I really enjoyed the past and present perspectives to the story, cleverly-written, and such a gripping page-turner! And that ending?!?! I'm going to immediately start the second book!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Nicky Mottram

    This is the first book in a series that introduces an author who investigates historic true crime and writes books about them. It was an enjoyable read though I did find that the storyline didn’t really get going until over half way through and was a little far fetched in places. There was a big twist at the end and a good cliffhanger that makes you want to read the next in the series Thank you to NetGalley and Harper Collins for the ARC In exchange for an honest review

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kerry Henderson

    This was a good beginning to the series of books. The plot was interesting and kept me hooked. I was just slightly disappointed with how the final reveal went down but it did fit with the story. I think Emma is going to be an interesting lead and I look forward to reading more in the series. 3*

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jade Doodes

    This is the first book in a new series and after reading this one I can’t wait to read the rest!! The story takes you on a rollercoaster journey with the characters that is filled with twists and turns. I can definitely see M.A. Hunter becoming one of my new favourite authors!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Amrita

    Quiet and introverted, Emma Hunter is not your usual crime thriller protagonist, so it definitely makes for interesting reading. The story unravels in two timelines - the Then where the little girl goes missing and its aftermath and the Now where Hunter is on the search for clues. While this is a regular format now for psychological thrillers, it somehow did not work for me in this story, especially during the Then timlines. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the arc.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Babs | babs_reviews

    This author was new to me when I started this book. I really enjoy this genre but was a bit hesitant with the focus on the children. I quickly realized that the way it was written was quite different and would offer a completely different take on solving cases and especially cold cases. There are things I connected with Emma, the investigative journalist we get to follow, and things I didn't quite like. However, it was those qualities I didn't like that made me realize how dynamic and human this This author was new to me when I started this book. I really enjoy this genre but was a bit hesitant with the focus on the children. I quickly realized that the way it was written was quite different and would offer a completely different take on solving cases and especially cold cases. There are things I connected with Emma, the investigative journalist we get to follow, and things I didn't quite like. However, it was those qualities I didn't like that made me realize how dynamic and human this character is. Every single person has flaws, they just vary. I enjoyed the dual tone of Emma uncovering pieces by piece and s getting to flashback to watch it unfold. It was this unique telling that kept me hooked and wanting to keep reading. The way Emma pieces the story together was choppy but that made the slower pace all the more exciting in my opinion. For everything to always fall smoothly would read so quick and boring. Thank you to Netgalley and Harper Collins UK (One More Chapter) for the copy.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    This book was part of @bookscape.books August read along! Ransomed is the first book in The Missing Children's Case Files, and it was an impressive start! Emma Hunter is an investigative journalist who has helped men get justice for the childhood trauma they suffered. When Cassie is abducted, her grandfather reaches out to Emma to help with the investigation. While investigating the abduction of Cassie, Emma is reminded of her childhood trauma of her sister going missing. This book has so many plo This book was part of @bookscape.books August read along! Ransomed is the first book in The Missing Children's Case Files, and it was an impressive start! Emma Hunter is an investigative journalist who has helped men get justice for the childhood trauma they suffered. When Cassie is abducted, her grandfather reaches out to Emma to help with the investigation. While investigating the abduction of Cassie, Emma is reminded of her childhood trauma of her sister going missing. This book has so many plots and twists. It keeps you gripped, wanting to know more, and I am curious to know what secrets the family were hiding, why she was abducted and why her grandfather still believes she is alive. I look forward to reading the rest of this series, and I can't wait to find out if Emma ever discovers the truth about her sister's disappearance more than twenty years ago. I'm giving this book 5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️‘a

  25. 4 out of 5

    Alyson Read

    Emma (MA – get it?) Hunter is an investigative journalist who spent three years working on her first book, a shocking account of the brutal abuse by staff inside The St Francis Home for Wayward Boys after she met first one victim in a homeless shelter and then two more came forward. These men trusted Emma enough to reveal the dreadful truth about what took place and named their tormentors. The book catapulted Emma to the bestsellers’ list and also prompted a police enquiry which had just culmina Emma (MA – get it?) Hunter is an investigative journalist who spent three years working on her first book, a shocking account of the brutal abuse by staff inside The St Francis Home for Wayward Boys after she met first one victim in a homeless shelter and then two more came forward. These men trusted Emma enough to reveal the dreadful truth about what took place and named their tormentors. The book catapulted Emma to the bestsellers’ list and also prompted a police enquiry which had just culminated in the imprisonment of the three ringleaders. The story begins as Emma’s agent, Maddie, is holding a celebration of the court victory in her London office. In the office’s reception area Emma is approached by an elderly and obviously very well to do man. He introduces himself as Templeton, Lord Fitzhume, and implores Emma to make her next investigation that of the kidnap of his still missing granddaughter Cassie Hilliard. Emma is surprised to find she has never heard of the case and he informs her that he was able to insist on a press blackout, such is his status. It transpires the family’s chauffer driven vehicle was attacked and the six year old child snatched from the scene in a very professional manner. The police even got as far as arresting one abductor in a botched ransom handover and believe Cassie is now dead. Fitzhume is convinced she is still alive somewhere. Initially Emma doesn’t want to get involved. She wants to write about the disappearance her sister Anna. Anna vanished twenty years ago when she was nine years old. She just walked round the corner from home and was never seen again, tearing apart the rest of the family irretrievably. Emma has not let a day go by in recent years without pushing on with the search for her sister, convinced that she is still alive somewhere. However her publisher has the final say on what the subject of her follow up book will be and Lord Fitzhume has friends in some very high places, so she resigns herself to writing about the missing Cassie. When she meets up again with Fitzhume, she realises he’s not so different from herself and they have a shared grief for a missing child. Immediately she finds she actually wants to get the truth for this sad old man. Granted access to the closed case police files and given help from a Metropolitan Police Constable, Jack Serrovitz, she travels from her beloved hometown of Weymouth to stay in London with best friend Rachel and starts to delve into the case. The story constantly switches back and forth between events of a year ago when Cassie was taken and the present day as the reader learns more about what happened during and after the kidnap. Much of the action takes place in the past rather than the present until we reach the final few gripping chapters as the truth about Cassie is revealed. Based on her success and notoriety following the publication of her first book, which just about every person she meets has read, people now know who she is and her reputation precedes her. They realise how talented she is at laying bare the facts of a case with great empathy and people are prepared to talk to her, spilling the truth and relating facts that would have otherwise remained hidden. It wasn’t hard to guess a fair bit about the plot but there were still a few surprises in store. The cliff hanger left at the end will, I’m sure, lead nicely onto the next story in what I think will become an excellent series. 4*

  26. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    I absolutely love discovering new authors and I particularly enjoy discovering an amazing series. ‘Ransomed’ certainly ticked both boxes. ‘Ransomed’ is the first book in a planned four book series. ‘Ransomed’ is the first book in the Missing Children series and it is an amazing book, which I thoroughly enjoyed but more about that in a bit. I was drawn to this book by the synopsis alone and as soon as I started to read, I just knew that I was going to be in for one hell of a read and then some. I I absolutely love discovering new authors and I particularly enjoy discovering an amazing series. ‘Ransomed’ certainly ticked both boxes. ‘Ransomed’ is the first book in a planned four book series. ‘Ransomed’ is the first book in the Missing Children series and it is an amazing book, which I thoroughly enjoyed but more about that in a bit. I was drawn to this book by the synopsis alone and as soon as I started to read, I just knew that I was going to be in for one hell of a read and then some. I was spot on. Nothing grabs the reader’s attention quicker than the apparent disappearance of a child. From that moment on, I was gripped by the story and on the edge of my seat for most of the story itself. I just found ‘Ransomed’ to be an unputdownable page turner of a read. I felt compelled, in the nicest possible way, to keep reading to find out if Emma managed to solve the case and to discover what happened to the children. The pages turned over increasingly quickly as my desperation to find out what happened steadily grew and grew. I soon got to the end of the book, which I was gutted about. I had been enjoying the author’s writing style, the characters and the storylines so much that I just didn’t want the book to end. ‘Ransomed’ is extremely well written. The author has one of those writing styles that is easy to get used to and easy to get along with. He grabs your attention from the start and draws you into the story. Once he has your attention he will not let you have it back until the very moment you read the last word on the last page. The story is written in two different time phases- some chapters focus on events as they happened years ago and events as they are happening in the present day. At first I wasn’t sure how the two were linked but as the story continued, all became clear as the saying goes. I did wonder if I might have been confused a bit by the changing time periods as it doesn’t take much to confuse me. I needn’t have worried though because the chapters interlink really well and the story flows seamlessly. Reading ‘Ransomed’ was much like being on one hell of a fast paced, unpredictable and at times downright scary rollercoaster ride with lots of twists and turns along the way. I was gripped by this story from start to finish and on the edge of my seat throughout. In short, I thoroughly, totally and utterly adored reading ‘Ransomed’ and I would have no hesitation in recommending this book to other readers. I will certainly be reading more of this author’s work in the future. The score on the Ginger Book Geek board is a very well deserved 5* out of 5*.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Nicki

    This captivating thriller introduces readers to Emma Hunter, journalist and author of the best selling novel Monster's Under My Bed, a expose of the horrific abuse that young boys were subjected to at the St Francis Home for Wayward Boys. Emma didn't enjoy taking the credit for the book, she insists that the survivors should take the credit because it's their story not hers. I thought Emma was a fantastic character, she was so likeable with her tatty cardigan and messy hair and I loved her inter This captivating thriller introduces readers to Emma Hunter, journalist and author of the best selling novel Monster's Under My Bed, a expose of the horrific abuse that young boys were subjected to at the St Francis Home for Wayward Boys. Emma didn't enjoy taking the credit for the book, she insists that the survivors should take the credit because it's their story not hers. I thought Emma was a fantastic character, she was so likeable with her tatty cardigan and messy hair and I loved her interactions with one of the survivors Freddie Mitchell and her best friend Rachel who was also a fantastic character. Emma was a troubled individual who was haunted by a terrible life changing event in her past, the mysterious disappearance of her older sister Anna and the guilt that she feels over the disagreement they had that resulted in Anna storming off and never being seen again. Emma wanted her next book to be about Anna but instead finds herself railroaded into investigating the disappearance of six year old Cassie Hilliard who was kidnapped a year previously and just happens to be the granddaughter of a very important and highly influential man. Lord Fitzhume was the type of man who demanded respect and expected to always get his own way. I can't say that I thought he was a very likeable character and I didn't think much of his daddy's little girl, spoilt brat of a daughter either. But where was Cassie? Would Emma be able to figure out the truth that was hiding behind the secrets and lies or was poor little Cassie destined to become another statistic just like Emma's sister Anna Wow, what a amazing start to what looks like is going to be a absolutely fantastic series. The reader is drawn into the captivating story from the first page, a story that keeps you guessing,frantically turning the page and contains all the elements that a reader wants to find whilst reading a thriller. The author had created a wonderful cast of realistic characters, a bunch of believable individuals that you thoroughly enjoy investing your time with and I can't wait to read the other titles in this series. Worth far more than five stars and very very highly recommended.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tracy Wood

    It was just a silly argument about how to use a skateboard but it devastated Emma's family. Her sister, Anna, wasn't happy about having to share and stomped off down the road to her grandmother's house. No-one who loved her ever saw Anna again and it broke the Hunter family into fragments which could never be put back together. Now, two decades later, Emma is a scarred but best selling, reluctantly recognisable, investigative author, riding the crest of a wave. Her meeting with a man at the soup It was just a silly argument about how to use a skateboard but it devastated Emma's family. Her sister, Anna, wasn't happy about having to share and stomped off down the road to her grandmother's house. No-one who loved her ever saw Anna again and it broke the Hunter family into fragments which could never be put back together. Now, two decades later, Emma is a scarred but best selling, reluctantly recognisable, investigative author, riding the crest of a wave. Her meeting with a man at the soup kitchen where she volunteers resulted in Emma beginning to work on her first book, the exposure and eventual conviction of the three main perpetrators of an historic sex abuse scandal. With her name in the headlines it isn't a surprise when she is approached by the devastated grandfather of a six year old girl who was abducted the previous year. Unwillingly she finds herself drawn into the complex world of the limitlessly wealthy where, partnered with a cold case specialist from the Met, she begins another high profile investigation. Could she, once again, succeed in giving hope where there was none or is she instead letting her own unfulfilled hunt for her sister blinker her to the realities of an already closed case? This is the first installment of an original new series by M A Hunter with another three books due to be published in the next nine months. If they are on a par with this story we, as readers, are in for a treat. There are four main characters, Emma, best friend Rachel, agent Maddie and cold case police officer Jack who support each other and are realistically drawn, warts and all. Gradually I think, more history will be revealed, especially in Emma's case and Anna will always be there in the background. This new series excites me and I can't wait for book two. I was able to read an advanced copy of this book thanks to NetGalley and the publishers in exchange for an unbiased review and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good fictional investigation but with an originally different slant. This is a brilliant read.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    Investigative journalist Emma Hunter’s exposé of abuse at a children’s home leads to a police investigation and several arrests, along with unexpected fame for Emma. She wants her next project to be a book about her sister Anna who was abducted twenty years ago. However, her publisher insists Emma look into the disappearance of six-year-old Cassie HIlliard who has been missing for a year. Emma is teamed up with PC Jack Serrovitz of the local cold case squad. Is Cassie still alive and if so, can Investigative journalist Emma Hunter’s exposé of abuse at a children’s home leads to a police investigation and several arrests, along with unexpected fame for Emma. She wants her next project to be a book about her sister Anna who was abducted twenty years ago. However, her publisher insists Emma look into the disappearance of six-year-old Cassie HIlliard who has been missing for a year. Emma is teamed up with PC Jack Serrovitz of the local cold case squad. Is Cassie still alive and if so, can she be found before it’s too late? This book alternates between “then”, at the time Cassie first disappears, and “now” for the current investigation. The chapters that take place in the past aren’t as evenly paced as those in the present. The chapters taking place in the past move more slowly, especially at the beginning of the book. The current chapters go by much faster and I really enjoyed the parts when Emma and Jack are working together. I don’t care for Emma’s pushy agent Maddie and have mixed feelings about her best friend Rachel. Emma is an engaging character and I like her dedication to the investigation. The case of Cassie’s disappearance has many twists and I was very surprised when all the facts about her abduction were revealed. I would have given this a firm 4 stars, but because of the abrupt ending, I’m lowering that to 3.5 stars. Although the majority of Cassie’s case is resolved, there is still a major loose end. There is also a huge development related to Anna’s case, but then the book ends. I knew there were supposed to be subsequent books in the series but didn’t realize this one would end with a cliffhanger that carries on to the next book. I had expected a complete ending, at least to Cassie’s case, and was blindsided that an important part is left up in the air. This is a good start to a new series, just be prepared to get the next book to get the full story. I received this ebook from NetGalley through the courtesy of One More Chapter. An advance copy was provided to me at no cost, but my review is voluntary and unbiased.

  30. 5 out of 5

    TheBookwormBlog

    This book has been sat on my Netgalley shelf for too long. Probably one of the first books i requested, and now i am asking myself why? This book was a FANTASTIC, gripping read. From beginning right until the very last word with the biggest cliffhanger i have ever read. The story mainly follows Emma, in her quest to find her sister but more prominantly the Hilliards in trying to find their missing daughter who went missing a year earlier. The case is closed, the police couldnt solve it, so why ca This book has been sat on my Netgalley shelf for too long. Probably one of the first books i requested, and now i am asking myself why? This book was a FANTASTIC, gripping read. From beginning right until the very last word with the biggest cliffhanger i have ever read. The story mainly follows Emma, in her quest to find her sister but more prominantly the Hilliards in trying to find their missing daughter who went missing a year earlier. The case is closed, the police couldnt solve it, so why can Emma Hunter? Well to find that out you definitley need to read the book, but what i can tell you is Emma Hunter is an AMAZING character, she is very intelligent, and will not stop until she finds the answers she needs, but she is quiet and introverted. A best selling author and hating fame. Such a relateable character especially for us bookworms who are more often than not introverted and very socially anxious. The book was written incredibly well – i had no idea where the story would go or that anything could be amiss with any of the family members until it hit me slap, bang in the face with the words. Shocked was an understatement. I was speechless. I couldnt believe it, and how Emma came to the correct conclusion out of nowhere still baffles me. This book had a steady pace throughout, constantly keeping you on the edge of your seat – until the end. The last 5% – Sheesh i’m not going to lie was the best 5% i have read in any book. It is shock after shock and then THE END. Such clever writing because although i enjoyed the book anyway and would definitely look into the following books in the series now i HAVE to. I NEED to know how the rest of it works out. An absolutley amazing book that i would 100% recommend to any thriller fan.

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