This is one of those really hard books to review because nearly everything I want to say is potentially a spoiler but I will do my best. Mia is in a bar, she’s been stood up by her boyfriend and then she is approached by a man, Colin Thatcher, she leaves with him but rapidly realises that this could have been the worst decision of her life. Not only is the story told in the first person by four different characters; Colin, Mia’s mother Eve, Detective Hoffman who is searching for her and Mia herself, the narratives also switch backwards and forwards and if that wasn’t enough to follow there is no warning when the narrative changes.
“…anything that will tell me who Mia Dennett was with that Tuesday night she disappeared. She won’t eat. Four times I’ve offered her food, dropped a bowl full of it on the floor in the bedroom. As if I’m her damn chef”
At first I found this style mildly off-putting but it has the effect of dragging you into the story, after all there is no reading to the end of the chapter in this book because there are no chapters; just one swirling narrative backwards and forwards. In the hands of a less accomplished writer this style of writing could easily have turned into a disaster but I loved it. Of all the narrators I found Colin’s by far the most compelling but all shine a light on different aspects of the story.
This isn’t just a thriller it is far more about why the characters act the way they do, and yes some of it is a little clichéd but after all, clichés exist for a reason. Eve appears the most shadowy of all, especially at the beginning, but like them all, we see that there is more to this mousey, offhand woman than is initially presented to us. Beneath the main plot there are prosaic truths some often repeated: ‘You can’t judge a book by its cover’ others dealing with the nature of complicated relationships. Mia’s with her parents, Colin with his mother and Eve’s with her husband, Judge James Dennett all of which pull the plot in different directions as the reader considers what is known at any given point.
This is one of those books where I got to the end and wanted to reread it again to see how it reads once you know the main point, I didn’t, but I think this one will be re-read because I think what is beneath the surface of this book is as important as the plot. So I loved it and at the same time I can see why others may not be as enamoured as I was, not least because the blurb is a little misleading. I could go off on a rant on why publishers insist on comparing books to other books but I won’t, I’ll just advise that you put aside a decent amount of time and settle down to read this book and see what you think of it based on its own merits. I thought this was a cracking debut and I look forward to more from Mary Kubica in the future. I received my copy of this book from the publishers, Harlequin UK in return for my honest review. This book was published yesterday, 1 August 2014.