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DCI Michael Thackeray knows you can never truly become inured to the sight of death. Especially when there are children involved. On entering the kitchen he is faced with the bloody bodies of a mother and her young daughter, still clutching her teddy bear. And outside the horror continues; a trail of crimson in the white snow leads them to another victim, a girl, who, by chance, is still alive. With Scott, another young child, missing, and the father gone, the police come to the inevitable conclusion that this cruel tragedy is the result of a domestic row turned violent. Whilst Thackeray concentrates on finding the children's father, Gordon Christie, his journalist lover Laura Ackroyd begins to wonder just who the missing man is. With the home devoid of any personal items and no traceable records of a man with that name, she suspects that this case could turn out to be more complicated than it first appears. It is a viewpoint, Thackery comes to share when he finds that his investigation is blocked at every turn, driving him to the brink of resignation and Laura to despair. As things fall apart, the tangle of violence Laura and Thackeray uncover turns lethal, and their lives hang in the balance as the full tragedy of the elusive Gordon Christie is eventually uncovered.