C. L. Taylor’s The Missing is a psychological thriller which allows us first-hand access into the heart of an unconventional family. The book’s main focus is on Billy, a fifteen-year-old rebellious rogue, who suddenly goes missing and is undiscovered for a lengthy period of time. As the reader, we follow the account of his mother, Claire, during the aftermath of her son’s disappearance and we are consequentially lead to discover many secrets that this family have been hiding from those around them as the truth slowly surfaces.
I will admit that I picked up a copy of this after being attracted to the cover and the phrase scrawled across its front: ‘Someone knows what happened to her son’. I am obsessed with thrillers and crime, so I was immediately convinced to give this one a go.
What Taylor delivers is truly a parent’s worst nightmare. The storyline is dark and a difficult one to write about without experiencing it personally. Nevertheless, she ensures it is emotionally charged and compelling throughout, making it difficult to put the book down. It allows the reader to work with the characters as we get to cipher through evidence and continue guessing what actually happened to Billy until the very end.
However, I did quickly begin to question Taylor’s, and the book’s, intended audience. I am telling you this as I aim to be completely honest on my blog when I am discussing literature; I would never want lie about my true feelings on a book in case one of you reads this and then are left disappointed when you buy the book for yourself. Thus, I will disclaim that I am still unsure who (or what) Taylor had in mind when she was writing. I believe that it feels very much like a young adult book; some parts are simplistic and lack better description, despite having the potential to take it to a whole other level. I did feel as if this ‘something’ was missing throughout the book… I wanted and expected more from it.
Also, the characters began to get a little annoying. Claire conveniently started to experience blackouts and they always occurred when something interesting was happening. This meant that the reader was deprived of a large section of her memory as she wasn’t able to recall what had just happened. It was obviously Taylor’s way of throwing more mystery into the novel, but the ploy felt childish, or like a last-minute idea that she decided to go back and add in.
The ending may also disappoint you, but I will refrain from spoilers (as there’s nothing worse!). I was not actually sure what I wanted to happen, or what I expected was going to happen at the closing of the novel, but I do like the fact that it was quite a realistic and brutal end as it made the entire story seem more truthful and life-like, rather than a child’s fairytale with its happy ending.
Nevertheless, the plot is clever and Taylor was brave to write about such a delicate and difficult topic, and if I’m being fair then it did keep me entertained. In fact, I am aware that she has multiple novels in this genre so I feel inclined to pick up another. Overall, I do feel that this is a good read, but being a thriller-fanatic like myself, it just was not enough for my liking.
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P.S. I would really appreciate it if you could nominate me for National Book Token’s competition! Winning tokens to buy books for university would really help me out, and then I could review them for you, too!! Just click here or follow the link below and nominate Rachael Sinclair 🙂 It takes less than a minute, and thank you in advance!