Source: Review copy
Publication: 14 June 2018 from Orion
MY NAME IS KATE.
I volunteer at a missing persons helpline – young people who have run away from home call me and I pass on messages to their loved ones, no questions asked.
I don’t get many phone calls, and those I do are usually short and vague, or pranks.
But today a girl named Sophie called.
I’m supposed to contact her parents to let them know their child is safe.
The problem is, Sophie isn’t safe.
AND SOPHIE IS MY DAUGHTER.
Well, if this is a debut novel, all I can say is watch out, all you domestic psychological thriller writers, because Emma Rowley has aced this one.
Kate Harwood’s 16 year old daughter Sophie disappeared from school two years ago and all she has had since are a handful of postcards with the same brief message that she is OK and not to worry.
In that 2 years, a lot has happened. Kate went to pieces, stopped working, had her marriage fall apart and is now doing voluntary work for a charity that maintains a helpline for missing children to pass messages on to their parents in confidence. Kate is still a mess. She can’t move on, she can’t sleep and she takes too many pills. Her husband Mark and her dad and sister all think it’s time that she moved on and accepted that Sophie isn’t coming back. Mark has certainly moved on.
But Kate just can’t let go. And one day, whilst on the helpline, she takes a call. It’s Sophie’s voice on a very crackly line. And Sophie tells her that she is still here.
But has Kate finally snapped? Is she looking for clues where there are none? The police, everyone around her, even her doctor think she’s a bit delusional.
Where The Missing Go, is told in three sections. The first is Kate’s voice and everything we see and hear is from the perspective of a distraught mother. In the second and third sections Kate and Sophie’s voices alternate, and we learn from Sophie what Kate still does not know about her disappearance.
There is a real strength of feeling and raw grief and emotion that pulsates from Kate’s narration. The bond between a mother and her child is palpable here and that really makes this an engaging and propulsive story.
Though it took a little while to get into it, once I did, the book moved at a breakneck speed, offering numerous alternate theories about what has happened to Sophie and whether Kate is as unreliable a narrator as she at first seems.
Jam packed with false leads, loads of tension and some very twisty scenarios, this is a one sitting read, the very definition of can’t put it down.
I didn’t see the end coming and I’d say overall this one is bound to be a winner.
Verdict: A sure fire summer success.
About Emma Rowley
Emma Rowley is a writer, ghostwriter and editor with a background in newspaper journalism. A graduate in Classics and English at Oxford University, she trained as a journalist at City University. Emma has spent considerable time in the courts and covering major crime stories. She lives in London.
Follow Emma on Twitter: @Emma_Rowley