When a fishing party casts a line and snags what looks like a person, Detective Inspector Hazel Micallef and her team are called to the scene. However, what looks like a human body under water turns out to be a mannequin. The police divers who retrieved the ‘body’ state that it was weighted down.
Further investigation revealed numbers on the mannequin which turn out to be an internet address. Micallef and team locate the website to find a body being tortured in what looks like real time.
Simultaneously, the ‘summer story’ in the local newspaper bears a striking resemblance to the mystery Micallef is trying to solve.
Thus starts what, in my mind, is almost a Keystone Kops search for the truth. While I enjoyed reading The Taken and its predecessor, The Calling, the bumbling that seemed real and even endearing in the previous book became too much. By the end of The Taken, I believe that the Port Dundas Detective Inspector succeeds in spite of herself rather than because of her understanding of the situation.
In addition, my favorite characters were either not included in The Taken (renegade Detective Sergeant Adjutor Sevigny) or only make a cameo appearance (thorn in her side Detective Howard Spere).
The plot in The Taken is totally unbelievable. Even Micallef’s relationships with her ex-husband and his new wife don’t ring true. While I’d probably give The Calling 4 stars because of its novelty, The Taken is down to 3 1/2. I think I’ll pass on the last two books in the series to stifle the downward trend in star ratings.