Title: Local Girl Missing
Author: Claire Douglas
Release Date: July 2016
My Rating: 7/10 Something Missing
The old Victorian pier was once a thing of beauty. It’s also where twenty-one-year-old Sophie Collier vanished eighteen years ago.
Francesca has spent the last twenty years haunted by the disappearance of her best friend. But when she receives a phone call from Sophie’s brother saying that a body has been found, she knows she can’t keep hiding from what happened. With her own secrets to keep, Francesca doesn’t relish the idea of digging up the past or returning to Oldcliffe. But it is time to go back to where she grew up, and it looks like she isn’t the only one there hiding truths.
I’m not sure how I feel about this book. First of all thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for kindly sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
I’ve read a lot of thrillers this year, and a lot of them involved some sort of missing person. I’ve found they’ve all started merging into one. Local Girl Missing, as the title suggests, is the story of a girl who disappears from her small seaside town, leaving her best friend behind to figure out what happened. All this was far too similar to The Sister by Louise Jenson, which I enjoyed and reviewed here. As I got further into the book, the similarities lessened and I started enjoying it in its own right.
This book is creepy. I wouldn’t say it’s the twistyest book I’ve ever read, although there are some unexpected moments, but it does read like a ghost story and I liked that. Douglas seemed to be taking a slightly different route from other ‘psychological thriller’ authors by actually trying to scare the reader. And it works. You want to read on because you’re so creeped out and know the things that are happening must have an explanation. For me, this was the aspect of the book I enjoyed most. I feel as if the ‘thrill’ has been lost from ‘thriller’ recently, and this brought it back.
My main issue with this book is one I have with many of this type of story; that is the protagonist’s motive for returning to the scene of the crime. Although this does become clearer in the final pages, I don’t understand why someone who is not a police officer or journalist would think they’re going to get anywhere by investigating a crime. What are they expecting to find that the police haven’t? It all seems rather unrealistic and forced.
The ending should come as a shock, but it didn’t quite hit the mark for me, despite me not presicting it. I can’t quite put my finger on what was missing, but I think it’s to do with the lack of empathy towards Frankie. I understand this is diliberate, but I’m not sure it quite worked.
Overall, I enjoyed this book, but it did have its issues. It didn’t quite hit the mark for me as a ‘solid’ thriller, but I would recommend it. I think a large part of my negativity is simply me having overdone it with thrillers recently. This was my first Claire Douglas novel, so I’ll definitely be getting my hands on a copy of her first book, The Sisters, and look forward to seeing what she comes up with next, however I will be reading something from a completely different genre next.