This is nobody’s favourite section of my blog (not even mine) but I said I was going to do it so here we are again.
I should start by saying that The Missing has nothing to do with the BBC TV series of the same name. Instead, it is a psychological thriller about 15 year-old frankly unlikeable Billy, who goes missing one night, and his mother, Claire, who attempts to find out what happened to him.
This is stretched out (and I mean stretched) over 512 pages during which Claire suffers a number of dissociative fugue episodes, forgetting who she is, where she is and why she’s there. This is far less interesting than it sounds.
The narrative is interspersed with WhatsApp conversations between two characters, one of whom we assume to be Billy, the other the person responsible for his disappearance. These serve the dual purpose of showing us that the author is a thoroughly modern person with her finger on the technological pulse and revealing that, as is so often the case, naughty old sex is at the heart of things.
We eventually, and with some relief (remember the 512 pages) learn the truth about what happened to Billy, and I have to admit this is not what I was expecting. Unfortunately it’s also not very believable.
This book has been very well reviewed by other authors in the genre, so maybe it’s actually a really good psychological thriller and I’m not the target audience. But I had to force myself to read to the end because although I wanted to know what happened, I didn’t really care.
Never a good sign.