Local Girl Missing

Written by Clare Douglas

Review written by Angela Hatherell


Local Girl Missing
Penguin Random House
RRP: £7.99
Released: August 11 2016
PBK

Think of all the clichés applied to interesting books, such as “couldn’t put it down”, “I stayed up all night” et. al. for they appear specifically designed for this engaging crime / mystery.

Douglas’s second novel is a fascinating story about two friends told in alternating time frames detailing a friendship forged by secrets. Francesca (Frankie) and Sophie grew up in small Somerset seaside town.  Frankie was ambitious while Sophie was content at home, though there was a certain amount of rivalry over boyfriends; but most crucially, they shared secrets.

Then Sophie disappeared, with only one clue; a training shoe on the town’s old and decayed pier.

Now, eighteen years later, her Brother Daniel informs Frankie that an unidentified body has been washed up on the beach.

Could it be Sophie’s body? 

Was it an accident?

Did she fall?

Was she pushed?

Efforts to solve these questions, which remain unanswered, are now renewed with the discovery of the body. The ghosts from the past are awakened as the friendship and the secrets between these two girls slowly reveal disturbing truths, or do they?

Though, little is as it first seems, for we learn of disturbing details of their friendship from their youth and via diary entries. The consequences of the revelations due to the discovery of the body will have implications that could affect the future.

There are secrets in this Somerset Seaside town that have remained concealed for close to two decades and are analogous to a sleeping family Dog; for when woken unexpectedly from slumber - its bite will have consequences. The denouement like the jagged teeth of that Dog, surprises as much as it disturbs the reader; and yes I “couldn’t put it down” and that’s no cliché, but a statement of fact, unlike some of the mysteries of the past.

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