Book Review: Trafficked - M.A. Hunter
A young French woman stumbles out of the forest and into a hospital, injured and terrified. Aurelie hasn’t been seen in more than a decade, since being kidnapped in broad daylight from a southern English beach when she was 10 years old. Asked to look into her story, true crime author Emma Hunter can’t resist - especially when Aurelie’s disappearance bears so many similarities to that of Emma’s sister, Anna. And when Aurelie admits to seeing other girls over the years, at the auction where she was sold and the place where she was held captive, Emma’s all-in on the story.
This is the third book in the Missing Children Case Files series, and though each book does ‘solve’ a case in full, the overall story arc of Emma’s hunt for answers about Anna’s disappearance means there is a lot of backstory I think you’d struggle to pick up on if you tried to step in and start reading the series here. The good news, however, is that the whole series is fantastic, and there is a sense of steadily rising urgency and tension as it progresses. With a planned 6 books in the series, I know I’ll be eagerly awaiting the next one.
The subject matter here is harrowing, with children being abducted, trafficked, sexually abused and forced to appear in explicit videos. However, it’s treated very sensitively and there is no violence or abuse explicitly described on the page. Aurelie is thoroughly gaslit by her captor, and after 13 years no longer has any real understanding of how to relate to the outside world (or indeed people who mean her no harm) and her mental issues are sometimes difficult to read about. The book ends on a note of hope for Aurelie as justice is finally done and it’s clear she will be provided the help she needs, and her suffering also leads to Emma and her investigative helpers finding a treasure trove of documents which may lead them to more victims, dead or still alive and in need of help.
I’m fascinated by this series: M.A. Hunter has created a compelling everywoman of a heroine in Emma, and I’m absolutely dying to know what happened to Anna, and hoping Emma eventually is able to find closure. Five stars, and I’m eagerly looking forward to the next!
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley.