“Someone knows where she is…”
I was lucky enough to receive a digital advanced review copy of Local Girl Missing by Claire Douglas in exchange for an honest review. So, here we are!
Local Girl Missing is about the unsolved disappearance of young Sophie. Years later Sophie’s best friend Francesca Howe, often referred to as Frankie, gets a call from Sophie’s brother David saying human remains have washed near the old Victorian pier where Sophie was last seen. He thinks it might be her. Frankie returns to town and she and David begin to unravel the mystery of what might have happened to Sophie all those years ago.
This book is not necessarily unique in the premise of an unsolved disappearance. However, the execution of the book, splitting the chapters and including Sophie’s perspective during the time leading up to her disappearance, is what gives this book its mystery and thrill. With just the present perspective from Frankie and the input from others, it is hard to grasp on what could have happened to Sophie and who might have done it (if it was not an accident, as some believe). Adding in Sophie’s experiences leading up to those fateful moments is the hook. I went back and forth as to what I believe happened to her, if another person was involved, et cetera.
I think the back and forth is important in a mystery or thriller novel like this one. I always say that if I can figure out the ending before it actually ends, particularly when a crime is involved, then the book did not do its job. I should not be able to guess! At the same time, however, I think it is a fine line because I also do not want to be too shocked by the ending and have it ring false. I don’t want it to seem too far fetched.
In terms of the ending with Local Girl Missing, I can safely say I did not see this particular ending coming. Thus, the first part of the equation is good for me. Unfortunately, however, I think there are parts of the ending and how everything wraps up that seem a little over the line in terms of believability. That said, I think it stays close enough to the line that many people will be just fine or ecstatic with the ending of the book.
The writing in a technical sense was decent, but for me there is a lot to be said about the hook of a story. I tend to find you can forgive a lot more if the story pulls everyone in effectively. With that in mind, I am not 100 percent sure if Local Girl Missing did enough to really suck me in and leave me breathless at the end of the novel. It was a fair read, yes, but not one reaching the highest books on my mystery shelf.
If you do enjoy mystery novels, I would recommend giving this one a shot. As I said, it was a fairly decent read and I know people have different tastes, so I think it is entirely possible for Local Girl Missing to give you a “holy shit” ending as I have had with some other books. Did it do that for me? No, but I can definitely see some markers for that sort of ending. If you do decide to give this one a read when its on shelves, I would love to hear what you think about it in the comments!
Title: Local Girl Missing
Author: Claire Douglas
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks