Book Review: The Missing, by C.L. Taylor #TheMissing

Publisher: Avon (Harper Collins)   |   Publication date: 7th April 2016

My Review - The Missing

The Missing - Kindle CoverAfter reading The Lie I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Cally Taylor’s new book – and what an outstanding performance by the cast in The Missing, from each and every one of them!

These perfectly ordinary folk are going about their perfectly ordinary lives until one day the extraordinary occurs – fifteen year old Billy Wilkinson goes AWOL. Okay, so he’s developed an attitude lately and seems hell-bent on looking for trouble, but the remaining members of his household never expected to be left wondering if he is alive or dead.

After an unsuccessful TV appeal and an ongoing online campaign, the thoughts of those close to Billy are starting to veer toward their worst fears. As the narration continues, you feel the haunting effect his disappearance has on the immediate family – their desperate situation unfolds before your eyes and sees them beginning to fray around the edges.

His mum, Claire, begins to suffer from random blackouts where she finds herself in different parts of town, questioning how she arrived there, scarily without any memory of the event. His father, Mark, projects an almost cold and unfeeling persona, but it’s his method of dealing with varying situations in his life, by ‘compartmentalising’ them in his mind and not really considering the effect of his behaviour on those around him. Billy’s older brother, Jake, is seeking solace at the bottom of a bottle, while Jake’s girlfriend has also been living with the Wilkinsons as she is experiencing difficulties with her own ‘devoid of all emotion’ mother. The only thing they have in common anymore is the fact Billy is missing.

The anguish of waiting for further developments strikes cruel blows throughout as they consider the painful fact: could they have done something differently that day? Well, little things occur to make them realise their life wasn’t as settled as they thought, but how did they miss the signs? Each of them were probably too busy keeping their own secrets safe.

The Wilkinson’s story is hit with the occasional burst of an online chat, which preceded the family’s current torment. The sneak previews of these two-sided and anonymous snippets of conversations are quite revealing, yet still conceal both senders’ identities. They are often graphic, sometimes explicit, but that’s before they morph into something else entirely as time ticks on. My perceptions of the characters changed dramatically, so my suspicions were aimed at just about everyone – and I was way off the mark!

Without a doubt the subject of The Missing is a waking nightmare. Those waiting for news don’t know how long the flickering glimmer of hope will stay alight for, nor can they grieve as the ordeal never ends. The author successfully captures the very essence of this perpetual state of limbo by lacing her words with an unsettling energy that simmers throughout, until they brew to a gobsmacking conclusion.

Rating: 4/5

(My thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of this title via NetGalley – and also the surprise paperback copy! – in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Summary - The Missing

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

‘The Missing has a delicious sense of foreboding from the first page, luring us into the heart of a family with terrible secrets and making us wait, with pounding hearts for the final, agonizing twist. Loved it’
Fiona Barton, Author of THE WIDOW

You love your family. They make you feel safe. You trust them. But should you…?

When fifteen-year-old Billy Wilkinson goes missing in the middle of the night, his mother, Claire, blames herself. She’s not the only one. There isn’t a single member of Billy’s family that doesn’t feel guilty. But the Wilkinson’s are so used to keeping secrets from one another that it isn’t until six months later, after an appeal for information goes horribly wrong, that the truth begins to surface.

Claire is sure of two things – that Billy is still alive and that her friends and family had nothing to do with his disappearance.

A mother’s instinct is never wrong. Or is it?  Sometimes those closest to us are the ones with the most to hide…

“I was grabbed by this book from the first page and read the ending with an open mouth. I wish I could unread it so that I could go back and discover it again. Brilliant!”
Angela Marsons, Author of SILENT SCREAM

Author Profile - The Missing

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

CL Taylor lives in Bristol with her partner and young son. Born in Worcester, she studied for a degree in Psychology at the University of Northumbria, Newcastle then moved to London to work in medical publishing as a sales administrator. After two years she moved to Brighton where she worked as a graphic designer, web developer and instructional designer over the course of 13 years. She now writes full time.

CL Taylor’s first psychological thriller THE ACCIDENT was one of the top ten bestselling debut novels of 2014 according to The Bookseller. Her second novel, THE LIE, charted at number 5 in the Sunday Times Bestsellers list. Combined sales of both novels have now exceeded half a million copies in the UK alone.

Cally’s third psychological thriller THE MISSING will be published by Avon HarperCollins in April 2016.