2023 Reviews · contemporary fiction · detective · mystery · new release

New Release Book Review: Taken by Dinuka McKenzie

Title: Taken

Author: Dinuka McKenzie

Published: February 1st 2023

Publisher: HarperCollins – AU

Pages: 352

Genres:  Fiction, Mystery

RRP: $32.99

Rating: 4.5 stars

A parent’s worst nightmare. A case that’s too close to home. The tense, must-read new Detective Kate Miles novel from the award-winning author of The Torrent.

‘I was in the shower. I left Sienna in her bassinet … When I got out … She was gone.’

Detective Sergeant Kate Miles is back from maternity leave and struggling on multiple fronts – the pressures of a second child, financial strain from her husband losing his job, and a corruption scandal that may involve her father.

When an infant goes missing, Kate finds herself fronting a high-profile and emotionally fraught case. Was baby Sienna removed from her bassinet by an unknown abductor or is the answer much closer to home?

Amidst a frenzied media demanding answers, and a station chief looking for any reason to remove her from the investigation, Kate is pushed to her limits, pulled between the competing demands of the family at the centre of the case and her own spiralling personal life.


The Torrent was such a great crime debut that I immediately turned to Dinuka McKenzie’s second release, Taken. Continuing the story of Detective Kate Miles, this hardworking detective is faced with heartbreaking crime that hits close to home. Emotionally charged, feverish and full of twists, Taken is another deluxe read from Dinuka McKenzie.

Taken allows us to re-join Detective Sergeant Kate Miles as she settles back into work life following her maternity leave. But the move back to work proves to be difficult for this mother of two. With pressures coming from her partner, children and money woes, Kate is also rattled by a personal crisis involving her father. Kate’s life becomes even more complicated when she is placed at the helm of a difficult case involving a missing infant. This upsetting case involving a baby called Sienna strikes right at this mother of two’s heart. However, this trying case leads Kate to question a suspect close to home as being responsible for the infant’s disappearance. A media storm builds around this case and the pressure mounts on Kate to find baby Sienna. Kate’s superiors are looking for any excuse to throw her off this trying case. Can Kate keep the lid on her pressure filled personal life and find out what happened to this innocent child?

Dinuka McKenzie is rising up the ranks in the Australian crime fiction field, thanks to the success of her first novel The Torrent. Taken is a book I was so thrilled to receive in the mail from the publisher and I am glad I made it a priority read. Dinuka McKenzie’s second release was a thrilling story.

Detective Kate Miles was such a memorable and likeable character in Dinuka McKenzie’s first book that I was overjoyed to meet her again in Taken. This time around we see this dedicated detective negotiate her return to work following her maternity leave. We also witness the adjustments Kate has made to her life now she is a mother of two. I completely sympathised and felt a great deal of empathy for Kate’s position. I admired Kate’s work ethic, her approach to the law and her general outlook. The inclusion of Kate’s cultural background adds something a little extra to this fantastic character composition. Dinuka McKenzie has excelled in the field of characterisation and realism when it comes to juggling motherhood with work life.

McKenzie’s writing is fluid, fresh and original. I love that we have a great new voice in the Australian crime and thriller category of fiction. The book takes off very quickly and I was soon sucked into the narrative vortex of Taken. Seasoned readers of crime fiction will value the plot twists, deviations, forks and flips. While this is a police procedural tale, do expect a generous serving of personal wellbeing, social problems and family issues as you make your way through Taken. The crime aspect of the tale is perplexing, real and consuming. I know I was rather unsuccessful in my attempts to crack this one but that was fine by me! I know it is a sign that I have been a gifted with a well crafted mystery tale.

Taken by Dinuka McKenzie was published on 1st February 2022 by HarperCollins – AU. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of Taken, Dinuka McKenzie, visit here.

*Thanks extended to HarperCollins Books Australia for providing a free copy of this book for review purposes.


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