"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…"
So if you read my review of The Lie, you'll know I'm a big fan of C.L Taylor. She's the queen of gritty, suspense-filled thrillers, and The Missing is no different.
The story centres around Claire, who are dealing with the aftermath of her son, Billy going missing. This is an intriguing and gripping topic for the story to focus on... you immediately want to know what happened, why Billy went missing and if he is dead or alive.
The suspense is heightened at the start of each chapter, which focuses on a online chat between two anonymous people. It's not clear who they are (although I had my suspicions for one of the people from early on) but the way they talk has you hooked... it's obviously linked to Billy's disappearance and so it's another mechanism to try and get you to fit the pieces together.
As you'd expect from the topic of this story, it's an emotional roller-coaster filled with ups and downs. You really feel for Claire, who is struggling to deal with the unanswered questions Billy's disappearance creates. She tries her best to keep her family together as one unit, but as everyone deals with the situation in different ways, she struggles to do so. C.L. Taylor has wonderfully crafted their emotions so you really feel their pain and will for them to get answers, even if it's not the answer they hoped for. I found this such an interesting plot and think that C.L Taylor executes it brilliantly - it's clear she did a lot of research to get it right. The emotions, the police procedures - its all expertly crafted and is so realistic it's easy to get lost in the story and so absorbed that you begin to forget it's fiction.
I'll admit, I really wasn't sure how the story would end, but they way it does is so good. I obviously don't want to say too much and spoil anything, but you won't be disappointed. I don't think it's an obvious ending, I was surprised by it, but once you know what happened and who's involved you sit back and think 'ohhh, of course!'.
As expected, The Missing is a brilliantly written, clever story filled with complex and intriguing characters that will hook you in from the very first page. An absolute must-read, but make sure you have plenty of time on your hands as you won't want to put it down!
*A big thank you to Avon, the publishers of The Missing for an advance copy of the book in exchange for an honest review