The Missing – C L Taylor

Published by Avon

Ebook & Paperback: 7 April 2016

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…

In The Missing, 15 year old Billy Wilkinson suddenly disappeared from home one night and his family is going through hell wondering if he is dead or alive.  We don’t see his disappearance, the story starts 6 months later when Claire and her husband Mark are getting ready for the second TV appeal, which doesn’t quite go to plan.  The story is mainly narrated by his mother, Claire and we see events from her perspective. We can’t always believe her story though because she has blackouts – or fugues as they are called.

The author has captured so well the family’s emotions.  The strain of Billy’s disappearance and the not knowing is breaking them apart.  The entire family have feelings of guilt. His older brother Jake fought with him the day he disappeared and Mark, the father, also had problems with his youngest son before his disappearance. His marriage and family are falling apart and they can’t seem to communicate with each other.  Jake’s girlfriend Kira lives with them, she has her own personal issues to deal with and seems to be struggling to cope with this family who all have secrets they are hiding from each other. 

Between chapters are separate transcriptions of WhatsApp messages between two unknown people, which become increasingly graphic and unsettling.  I had my suspicions from early on who these two people were and it surprised me to find out that I was correct.  The more I learnt about Billy as the story progressed, the more I thought him to be a right little toerag. I’m not a parent but it must be so difficult to get right that line between disciplining your children without alienating them. Billy was at that rebellious age and didn’t want to be controlled.  

I think I must have suspected every family member or friend at some time, even Claire. Her blackouts made it possible for her to have done something which even she can’t remember.  I found the subject of dissociative amnesia fascinating. It’s incredible to think that someone can go through certain actions such as driving a car and finding yourself somewhere that you have no memory of travelling to. I could understand why Claire found it so frightening. 

The story doesn’t so much focus on the official investigation of Billy’s disappearance but more on the effect it has on the family and how they are desperate for answers.

I suspect I’m going to be a lone voice with this one as many other reviewers have raved about it.  I loved this author’s two previous thrillers, The Accident and The Lie, both of which are reviewed on this blog and had been eagerly looking forward to this latest book, but The Missing didn’t engage me as much as I had hoped for and I can’t put my finger on why. I liked it but I didn’t love it.   It’s not the writing that’s at fault because that is up to the usual standard and is excellent.  It may be my mood at the moment, or the fact that I simply didn’t care enough about the characters – I don’t know.

I don’t review books here that I wouldn’t recommend.  Although this wasn’t one of my favourites by C L Taylor, its still a very good, suspenseful and well written story and I would recommend it to others.  I think in this case its “me not you”. 

My thanks to the publisher Avon for the ARC to review.

At the time of writing this post, the Kindle version of The Missing can be pre-ordered from Amazon for £2.99 

About the author:

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. 

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