Boston PIs Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro have been hired to find a six-year-old girl who vanished from her home without a trace. Despite enormous public attention, extensive news coverage, and dogged police work, the investigation has gone nowhere. But it's a case rife with sinister circumstances: a strangely indifferent mother, a pedophile couple, a bizarre subculture of homeless parents, and a shadowy police unit with a covert agenda and no qualms about enforcing it. When a second child disappears, the sleuths face a local media more interested in sensationalizing the abductions than solving them, a police force seething with lethal secrets, and a faceless power determined to keep the kids lost forever. Caught in a deadly tangle of lies and betrayal, Patrick and Angie must confront the horror of what the world can inflict on its children in order to unravel a riddle that's anything but child's play.