You love your family. They make you feel safe. You trust them. Or do you…?
When fifteen-year-old Billy Wilkinson goes missing in the middle of the night, his mother, Claire Wilkinson, 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?
I wasn’t sure what to expect from The Missing by C.L. Taylor, but it ended up really surprising me in its effectiveness – it really kept me hooked in throughout! I couldn’t really put it down and blame little sleep last night (and feeling exhausted today) solely on on this novel… I don’t mind though as I enjoyed every minute! 🙂
I really loved the characterisation in the novel – even though I didn’t particularly like all of them as people! They seemed real, and Claire and her husband Mark’s relationship seemed convincingly realistic; though a bit depressing at times, it felt like it reflected real life and really rang true as I read on. The relationship between the members of the Wilkinson family was strained sometimes, loving and caring at other times, but whatever happened with them I felt like it was genuine throughout – even if I wasn’t sure which of the characters were being truthful or not!
Saying that, some of the interaction between ‘ICE9’ and ‘Jackdaw44’ didn’t feel quite as genuine to me (this was mostly conveyed via text message conversations) and I felt like it wasn’t how I’d imagine people – of the age I was imagining them to be, anyway – to interact with each other, regardless of personality. However the rest of the novel and its twists and turns more than made up for this.
The problem – or in fact, the addictiveness – lies in the author’s ability to leave every end of chapter as a kind of cliffhanger, even if not a major one, which always left me wondering what on earth was going to happen a next! The narrative, though sticking mainly in the present day, does jump around a bit at times which I really like in a novel; it feels like I was slowly unpicking the ‘mystery’ at the heart of the novel.
I felt like this was a well-crafted psychological thriller and one that keeps the pace going even when nothing technically ‘happens’ as such, because you’re always finding out more and more about Billy’s disappearance, including things which you’re not quite sure of the reliability of… I like to question everyone in my mind!
I’ve had this on my ‘to read’ list for a while, and now I’ve read it I immediately want to catch up with all of C.L. Taylor’s other novels; I’ve already bought The Lie and am looking forward to giving it a go and seeing if it’s as compulsive reading as The Missing is!