The Child Before: An absolutely gripping detective thriller

· Bookouture
26 reviews

About this ebook

She began to sing, the girl. Her voice was soft, so soft it was almost of the wind. It was a lullaby. She cradled her arms, rocking them gently back and forth. As if she was holding a baby. But she was not. Her arms were empty.

On a cold morning a cyclist finds the brutally slaughtered body of a woman in her car, on a remote lane leading to the long-abandoned Irish village of Kelly’s Forge.

But when Detective Finnegan Beck arrives from the nearby town of Cross Beg to investigate he notices there’s a baby’s seat in the back of the car. A bottle of baby’s milk lying in the footwell. And no child.

Little Róisín isn’t the first child to go missing from that same remote location though. There was another baby girl, taken more than fifty years before, who was never found. Has too much time passed for there to be a connection, or does something – or someone – link these two crimes?

Beck claims he does not want to stay in Cross Beg. His heart is back in Dublin, with the woman he loves. But, knowing that a child’s life depends on him changes things. He knows he has to find the missing baby girl. Because if he doesn’t, he fears there’s a chance everyone will give up the baby for dead, just like they did before…

This dark, twisted page turner will keep you up all night. Perfect for fans of LJ Ross, Patricia Gibney, and Rachel Caine.


Readers are loving The Child Before:

So many twists and turns throughout the whole book. You never knew what surprise was going to happen next. This book had me holding my breath up til the end. I would have never guessed who the killer was. I just love books like this.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘An amazing book… Lots of twists and turns… Full of surprises. I thought I knew who the killer was halfway through but I was totally wrong.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

A fast paced thriller with heart wrenching turns!... I went from heartbroken to angry to scared!! What a perfect combination for a thriller!... I would absolutely recommend this book!’ Goodreads reviewer


Wow. This was a great book. Held my attention from the first page. Tons of twists and turns. Can't wait for more’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

Gripping to the end. Love the plot twists and turns... Michael Scanlon is one writer to watch for the future.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

Inspector Beck is an unforgettable character… A highly entertaining read.’ Goodreads reviewer

Full of twists and dark turns, the author keeps the reader guessing up until the very last page.’ Goodreads reviewer

‘This is my kind of book… kept me guessing and reading until late into the night.’ Goodreads reviewer

Bloody good… I didn’t for a minute spot the culprit.’ Goodreads reviewer

Brilliant. I love the slow unwinding of the different strands in the plot… Great writing… full of atmosphere and suspense. Well deserved five stars.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

Praise for Michael Scanlon:

Gripping... Keeps you guessing till the end... Unrelenting pace... excellent writing... The needle of suspicion keeps moving from one suspect to another... If you loved the detective series of Harry Bosch or Cormoran Strike, you will enjoy this one.’ Goodreads reviewer

A page-turning, don't-put-it-down, yes-you-will-be-up-all-night kind of readamazing!SPW Writes, 5 stars

Started with a bang and just kept going! The twists kept coming... I couldn't put it down.’ Goodreads reviewer


I have never, ever read a whole book in one day… until now.’ Booked Up Girl, 5 stars


‘Bloody brilliant... One seriously, fantastically and brilliantly written book. I was hooked on this book from the first moment. Simply unputdownable... I totally and utterly flipping well loved [it]... Simply outstanding.’ Ginger Book Geek, 5 stars

Ratings and reviews

26 reviews
Linda Strong
August 22, 2019
DS Finn Beck is back .. still in the small Irish town to which he was banished from Dublin. He has put in for a transfer back to Dublin since his name was cleared. But first he has a case to solve. A young mother is found brutally slain lying in her car on a remote road. What's even worse is the child's car seat in the back ... but no baby. Has the baby been left with someone ..or has someone taken the child? Was the mother the primary target? .. or just a way to get to the child? This girl child is not the first one to go missing in this particular area. Fifty years ago another child disappeared and whose body was never found. Beck is anxious to get back to Dublin, but he's afraid if he leaves now, there's a chance that everyone will quit looking for the child ... just like they did before. DS Beck is a man with issues ... he needs anger management and he's an alcoholic, having just recently started attending AA meetings. He's really a good man at heart and wants nothing more than justice for victims of crime. This is a well written story, going back and forth between the present day missing child and the one from decades before. Taking place in Ireland, the author makes use of old Irish folklore and really interesting small village residents. There's plenty of action, plenty of suspects with suspense that begins on the very first page. Many thanks to the author / Bookouture / Netgalley for the digital copy of this crime fiction. Read and reviewed voluntarily, opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.
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Marnie Harrison
June 6, 2019
The Child Before is the second book in the Detective Finnegan series but can be read as a standalone. A police prodecural thriller that will keep you on your toes and will keep you guessing till the final pages. Detective Finnegan is back, this time to solve the murder of a woman who has been found by a local resident whilst on their morning ride through the abandoned village of Kelly’s Forge. What makes this case even worse, is whilst attending the scene, Detective Finnegan notices a baby seat in the vehicle and a bottle of milk lying in the footwell, but there is no baby to be found! As Detective Finnegan dives deeper into the case, it bears a remarkable resemblance to a case from 50 years previously where another baby girl was taken and never found. The first few chapters of the book are told from the past set in the 1954 back to the present day. I always go in with trepidation when this occurs as they can cause some confusion but Michael handles the transition between the two well and they are easily followed with the past being an integral part of the story. Character wise, they were all well written and developed and we are given a good selection as to who the culprit could be. I could not connect with Finnegan though, but this is on me and which is due to not reading the first book in this series. Even though that this can be read as a standalone for me I will need to go back and read the first book to get a better understanding of him. I so vary rarely read a series out of sequence but could not wait as this book appealed to me so much. From my opinion of him though in this book, I think he is a bit rough around the edges with a colourful past but I am sure that I will grow to like him! The setting of Cross Bag, has the perfect mix of eerie and a haunting vibe which really sets the tone of the book perfectly, and was described so well that I felt I was also in the town mixed up in the case. This is the first book I have read from Michael. I enjoyed his style of writing and the short snappy chapters that kept the story moving along at the right pace to a thrilling conclusion. Do I recommend this book: Absolutely! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
1 person found this review helpful
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Marcel Hessmann
August 22, 2019
Definetly worth to read, great book! Haven't read the first one either and there is no need to because the story itself is absolutely thrilling.
2 people found this review helpful
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