Title: The Night She Went Missing by Kristen Bird
Genre: Contemporary, Domestic Mystery
Length: 336 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
An intriguing and twisty domestic suspense about loyalty and deceit in a tight-knit Texas community where parents are known to behave badly and people are not always who they appear to be.
Emily, a popular but bookish prep school senior, goes missing after a night out with friends. She was last seen leaving a party with Alex, a football player with a dubious reputation. But no one is talking.
Now three mothers, Catherine, Leslie and Morgan, friends turned frenemies, have their lives turned upside down as they are forced to look to their own children—and each other’s—for answers to questions they don’t want to ask.
Each mother is sure she knows who is responsible, but they all have their own secrets to keep and reputations to protect. And the lies they tell themselves and each other may just have the potential to be lethal in this riveting debut.
The Night She Went Missing by Kristen Bird is a clever debut mystery.
Catherine and her family have recently relocated from Oregon to her husband’s home town of Galveston. She left under a cloud and their oldest daughter Emily is fuming mad her parents made her move for her senior year of high school. As if dealing with her daughter’s anger is not enough, Catherine is also forced into contact with her wealthy, controlling mother-in-law Rosalyn Callahan who runs the family’s private school where Emily is now a student. When Emily goes missing from a party at a friend’s house, will the small community and the Callahan family come together to find her?
Catherine is not at all happy with the move but under the circumstances, she feels it is for the best. Her husband Carter is now home more with the family, which also includes their twins Olivia and Lucy. Catherine becomes friends with divorcee Morgan Frasier who son Alex, becomes the prime suspect in Emily’s disappearance.
Leslie Steele is a widow who works hard as a volunteer at Rosalyn’s school. Her daughter Anna is present at the party where Emily was last seen. Leslie also has two older sons, Asher, who is in medical school. She is estranged from her other son Sawyer who has little to do with his family since leaving the island. Leslie depends heavily on her brother-in-law Robert, who, much to her dismay is now dating her former best friend, Morgan. Each of these three mothers believe they know their children best, but do they really?
The Night She Went Missing is a riveting domestic mystery with a claustrophobic island setting. The characters are well-developed although some of them are less appealing than others. The storyline is well-developed with plausible plot twists that are quite tantalizing. Wealth, privilege and social connections play significant roles in how the various characters react to Emily’s disappearance. With a shocking denouement, Kristen Bird brings this suspenseful, secret-filled domestic mystery to a very unexpected conclusion.