By C.L. Taylor
Published by Avon (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 Wilkinsons 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…
Unlike many similarly-themed books around at the moment, The Missing concentrates on a missing teenager, rather than a young child. And this certainly provides a welcome change.
The story begins six months after 15-year-old Billy disappeared. The family have no idea if he is still alive but haven't given up hope. C.L. Taylor certainly puts you right into the heart of the family, so you can feel the impact Billy's disappearance has had on the family unit. Claire, Billy's mother, keeps experiencing blackouts, brought on by stress. Her memory loss makes her completely unreliable, and as a reader it's very difficult to know who to trust.
The Missing is more than simply a book about the search for a teenager. Other themes shining through include the psychological impact of tragedy and dark family secrets. As the book progresses, it's clear that Billy certainly isn't the 'golden child' that his mother wants everyone to believe, and that something has been bubbling under the surface.
As the mother of two teenagers, The Missing certainly made me think and worry about my own children. I guessed the 'who dunnit' and the 'how dunnit' wasn't quite dark enough for me - but that probably says more about me than the book. Overall, The Missing is a compelling read, and a well-plotted psychological thriller, and it certainly kept me engrossed from beginning to end.
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.