FOR more than a year the attention of Perth law enforcers and residents alike has been focused on a single strip of bitumen running north–south through the heart of suburban Claremont: Bay View Terrace. From the vicinity of a nightclub there, Autostrada, three women have gone missing on separate occasions – vanished without a trace after reportedly beginning the late-night journey home alone.
As an ex-homicide detective turned private investigator from the north side of the city, former footballer Richard ‘Snowy’ Lane is called on by a mutual acquaintance to assist one of the families in its distress. The official search for their daughter and sister, Caitlin, appears to have stalled; might Lane perhaps discover something useful – no matter how seemingly minor – that the police have missed?
Inserting himself ever deeper into the case, Lane becomes a man obsessed with giving the O’Gradys the closure they crave. The chances of Caitlin being found alive are dimming yet still they cling onto the hope that eventually whatever remains of her might be returned to them.
Fast-forward 20 years and another Perth family is similarly anguished: a young mining heiress has not been heard from since she and her boyfriend refuelled their four-wheel-drive in Port Hedland before supposedly heading further north towards Broome.
When Lane is engaged by the Feisters to look into Ingrid’s whereabouts, a tenuous, almost-inexplicable link with the Claremont case begins to take shape.
Could it possibly be that the real killer of the Autostrada trio is resuming his murderous rampage after two decades of apparent hibernation? Lane has always suspected that the police were too hasty in their wrapping up of the disappearances.
Now back on the trail in the majestic Kimberley, Lane seizes the opportunity to search for the final piece of the Autostrada puzzle and in so doing soothe the O’Gradys’ pain.