I had never heard of Martin's case until his parents made their most recent public appeal, shortly after the thirtieth anniversary of his abduction in 2009. It struck a cord with me, it wasn't fifteen years ago I was doing what Martin innocently was, travelling home from school on cold winter afternoons with basically no daylight, totally alone and only now as an adult realising how vulnerable I was. Every teenaged boy and girl has to do it. Luckily, I didn't find myself in a situation like Martin's, or one his family was so cruelly thrown into.
Anton Gill's writing gives you a huge insight of this tragic, and terrifying true story. You are taken through the full detail of how the tube journey Martin had made home from school dozens of times collided with that of a man who represents every parents worst nightmare. The ensuing police investigation, and how the lives of Martin's family were turned upside down as they were left with no answers.
In many ways, the book is a tribute to Martin, as you learn so much about who he was, as is often overlooked in missing persons cases, he was a fifteen-year-old boy with an entire life, not someone who only came about the day he disappeared.
As for the abductor, I truly hope that he, if still alive, is incarcerated for another crime, and has been for the proportion of the last thirty-three years. Either that or he is burning in hell for what he did to Martin and his family. The thought of him still being out there and free is a frightening one which I hope isn't the case.
Although the book was published in 1984 and police procedures have changed greatly since then, it is a sad fact that a lot of the information in this book remains today as it was not just then, but in 1979; Martin still being missing, his abductor's identity still unknown, the Allen family (I see Martin's brother Kevin posted above, hope your doing well) having no justice, still no conclusion. It is a testament to their strength upon reading of their most recent status (2009) that they have managed to rebuild their lives in truly appalling circumstances. Even as much as your heart goes out to them while reading of the details of Martin's abduction, you still will never know how it feels unless it's happened to you.
My copy bought here on Amazon's Marketplace features a written dedication at the start from a Lisa to her mother.