Emotionally complex, psychological thriller from debut author, Jane Casey...
Touching on several delicate issues; The Missing makes gut-wrenching and heart-breaking reading.
Two stories combine at a crossroads: one is the story of how twelve-year-old Charlie disappeared one day after telling his younger sister, Sarah, that he wouldn’t be long; the other, the full intensity of a murder enquiry after an older Sarah discovers the dead body of one of her teenage students in the woods near her home. Both are tales of unimaginable anguish and mental torment. Both give you pangs of sorrow and the shudders in equal measure.
For me, though, it is the dredged up memories of a younger Sarah that I find emotionally compelling. Through the eyes of a child, then teenager, then young adult, we see the transformation of her family following the aftershock of her brother’s disappearance and are allowed underneath her skin to understand her future actions.
The Missing is not a typical crime novel. Irrespective of the pivotal police presence throughout, there is minimal police procedure or forensic analysis; none of which detracts from the intensity or realism of the novel. Indeed, fascinatingly, the author indulges in airing some interesting perceptions of police mentality and morality.
An intense psychological thriller, Casey’s treatment of the emotive subjects of abduction, child abuse and murder is both sensitive and pragmatic. She does not shy away from the horrific, nor does she glorify or revel in them. The various twists and turns are occasionally surprising, but ultimately the story generates sadness – the futility of taking a young life and the extraordinary impact it can have on those left behind. The Missing is a remarkable debut, utterly absorbing and leaves its mark long after you’ve finished turning the last page.
We interview C J Daugherty about Night School
- 10 January 2012