Title: The Missing by C.L. Taylor
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 496 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss
In this harrowing psychological thriller about a missing teenage boy whose mother must expose the secrets within their own family if she wants to find her son—perfect for fans of Reconstructing Amelia.
You love your family. They make you feel safe. You trust them. Or do you…?
When fifteen-year-old Billy Wilkinson goes missing in the middle of the night, his mother, Claire Wilkinson, 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…?
Combining an unreliable narrator and fast-paced storytelling, The Missing is a chilling novel of psychological suspense that will thoroughly captivate and obsess readers.
The Missing by C.L. Taylor is an incredibly fast-paced and suspenseful mystery about a missing fifteen year old and his mother’s attempts to locate him.
Six months after their son Billy vanished without a trace, Claire Wilkinson and her husband Mark are making a another media appearance in hopes of uncovering new information. When their appeal is derailed by their nineteen year old Jake’s drunken behavior, the family becomes even more fractured than before. Jake turns to drink to help him cope, his girlfriend, Kira Simmons, who lives with the family, loses herself in her college classes and Mark continues traveling for work. However, Claire begins experiencing inexplicable episodes of amnesia that while deeply troubling, do not distract her from her increasingly frantic efforts to locate Billy.
Written primarily from Claire’s perspective, her anguish and worry are palpable as she remains convinced Billy will safely return home. In the aftermath of her first terrifying fugue state, she is of course very concerned about what happened to her, but she does not allow this to keep her doing everything possible to unearth new leads about Billy. Her desperation leads to some very questionable decisions that put her into potentially dangerous situations. Claire refuses to give up hope that Billy is alive and as she tries to find out the truth about what happened to her son, she gradually realizes that she does not know her loved ones as well as she thought.
The unfolding story is interspersed with message exchanges between two unknown people that take place during the months leading up to Billy’s disappearance. While it is somewhat easy to surmise one of the authors of the messages is most likely Billy, the other person’s identity remains shrouded in mystery. These messages offer a distressing snapshot of Billy’s activities with this person and they also provide an intriguing peek into his strained relationships at home.
The Missing is an absolutely spellbinding mystery with a clever plot and a sympathetic yet increasingly unreliable narrator. C.L. Taylor brilliantly keeps readers guessing about whether or not Billy is alive and who might be responsible for his disappearance. The message exchanges are thought-provoking and provide fascinating insight into Billy’s life in the months before he vanished. However, the truth about what happened to him is cunningly concealed until the very dramatic and positively stunning conclusion. I highly scintillating psychological thriller to fans of the genre.