Review: The Missing Hours by Emma Kavanagh

Title: The Missing Hours by Emma Kavanagh
Publisher: Kensington
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 369 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


“Murderers are rarely who you imagine them to be . . . ”

One moment, Selena Cole is at the playground with her children . . . the next, she has vanished without a trace.

The body of Dominic Newell, a well-respected lawyer, is found on a remote mountain road, blood oozing from the stab wound in his neck.

In the sleepy borderland between England and Wales, sheep outnumber people and serious crimes are rare. Which makes this Tuesday morning, with two calls coming in to the local police station, even more remarkable. Detective Constable Leah Mackay and her brother, Detective Sergeant Finn Hale, begin their respective investigations, but soon find them inextricably linked. And when Selena is found alive and unhurt twenty hours later, the mystery deepens.

Selena’s work consulting on kidnap and ransom cases has brought her into close contact with ruthless criminals and international drug lords. But now, as Selena walks back into her life wearing a blood-spattered sweater, claiming no memory of the preceding hours, Leah can’t be sure if she is a victim, a liar, or a murder suspect.

Leah and Finn delve into each case, untangling the secrets and betrayals—large and small—that can lie just beneath the surface of a life, yet unprepared for where both trails will lead.

With engrossing characters, devilish twists, and evocative prose, The Missing Hours is that rare page-turner—as satisfying and complex as it is unpredictable.


The Missing Hours by Emma Kavanagh is a clever police procedural about two perplexing mysteries that occur simultaneously yet appear unconnected.

Detective Constable Leah Mackay is assigned to the missing persons case involving Dr. Selena Cole who disappeared without a trace from the playground where her two daughters are playing.  Serena’s sister-in-law Orla Britten has no idea where she could be but she is quite concerned since Selena has been grief-stricken since the tragic death of her husband Cole.  With scant clues to follow, Leah is concerned about the future of the case when local defense solicitor Dominic Newell’s murder investigation takes precedence.

Leah’s brother, newly promoted Detective Sergeant Finn Hale is leading the Dominic’s murder enquiry. Newell has been stabbed to death and all personnel are needed for the investigation.  Finn heads to the victim’s law practice where he is surprised to learn Dominic and his law partner, Bronwyn Hartley, were once romantically involved although they are now just friends. Finn then questions Dominic’s boyfriend, Isaac Fletcher, but the grieving man does not set off any alarms. The next line of inquiry leads to one of the victim’s clients, Beck Chambers, who quickly becomes their chief suspect once Finn learns more of Beck’s run-ins with the law.

Just as Leah turns her attention to Dominic’s case, Selena is found unharmed, yet, inexplicably, she has no memory of what happened during her disappearance. Despite Selena’s safe return, Leah’s curiosity about what happened to her nags at her.  After she and Finn discover that a suspect has ties to both Selena and Dominic, Leah can no longer ignore her conviction that the two  cases somehow linked.  Leah is also certain that Selena is not being completely honest with her but trying to figure out the reason for her deception is virtually impossible.

Finn is putting in long hours as he investigates Dominic’s murder but he is frustrated by his dearth of viable leads or suspects. He is skeptical of Leah’s assertion that Selena’s disappearance and Dominic’s murder are somehow linked, but he nonetheless joins her as she follows each piece of evidence she unearths.  Certain they are on the right path, Leah and Finn painstakingly put together their disparate pieces of evidence but will they figure out the truth before it is too late?

With the chapters alternating between Leah and Finns perspectives and interspersed with case studies of Selena and her husband’s kidnap and rescue cases,  The Missing Hours is an incredibly intriguing mystery that is multi-layered and complex. Both Leah and Finn have excellent instincts yet they each find they let their own personal situations cloud their judgment at different times during the investigation. The plot is quite unique with the shadowy world of kidnap and rescue figuring prominently throughout the unfolding story.  With unexpected twists and exciting turns, Emma Kavanagh brings the novel to a shocking and somewhat dramatic conclusion that completely wraps up both of these baffling mysteries.

1 Comment

Filed under Contemporary, Emma Kavanagh, Kensington, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Suspense, The Missing Hours

One Response to Review: The Missing Hours by Emma Kavanagh

  1. Timitra

    Sounds good, thanks for sharing your thoughts Kathy