There are three things no-one can prepare you for when your daughter is murdered:
– You are haunted by her memory day and night
– Your friends and family fear you are going mad
– Only in a group with mothers of other victims can you find real comfort.
Welcome to the club no one wants to join.
Over the course of the last four years three young girls have been murdered around the same area in Hampstead Heath. First One Missing opens with news of the death of a fourth girl, Poppy Glover. The mother of the first girl to fall victim to the Kenwood Killer, Helen Purvis, has started a support group for the victims’ families, named Megan’s Angels in memory of her daughter. Family Liaison Officer Leanne Miller supported the Reid family when their daughter Tilly originally went missing and has been tasked with the job of informing the family with news of Poppy’s death and the fact that their daughter’s killer has potentially struck again. The media are sent into frenzy when news gets out about a fourth victim as the families involved struggle to come to terms with the fact that the murderer of their child is on the loose. Old wounds are opened and turmoil quickly follows for all involved in this heart-breaking and truly terrifying case…
This is only the second book by Tammy Cohen that I have read, but I can say with utter certainty that it will be the second of MANY. This story completely drew me in, had me hooked and threw my emotions all over the place. It was such an electrifying read and I had real difficulty in putting it down. The story is told from many viewpoints. You hear from the parents and relations of the victims (otherwise known as ‘Megan’s Angels’), FLO Leanne who is supporting the Reids, waning journalist Sally Freeland who has reported on the case in the past and is just desperate to come up with a new lead and a potential suspect for the murders, Jason.
This story is full to the brim with fascinating, intriguing characters who you can never quite suss out. I love that in a novel – that aspect of never quite knowing who you should suspect, and who you shouldn’t. I thought it was hugely effective hearing from so many different viewpoints and watching the story develop through different characters eyes. Reading about their inner turmoil and the thoughts and feelings that they experienced, all for very different reasons, makes for an absolutely cracking story. All of the characters are so well developed and Tammy Cohen has this unmistakable way of really getting under their skin. This is especially true in the case of the families who have been victims of such a horrific tragedy. The way that they must be feeling is unimaginable, yet Tammy manages to portray their nightmare sensitively and realistically.
I was hugely intrigued by the character of Sally and I felt as though she brought a touch of light relief to the story at points, she was simply just so full-on and OTT, but she did come out with some rather amusing lines. However, there are times in the story when you get hints of events from her past but you’re kept guessing as to what exactly may or may not have happened to her.
There’s no denying that the subject matter of First One Missing is something which most of us would probably like to put out of our minds and not think about. However, Tammy bravely tackles these issues and isn’t afraid to portray things in their shocking entirety. Whilst it’s an extremely uncomfortable subject matter, Tammy ensures that the story is dark, full of twists and ultimately a first class psychological thriller.
I also thought that the pace of the story was perfectly fitting. Things start off a little slower as we are introduced to the characters and get to understand their situations, maybe pick up a few clues about their personalities and generally suss them out. However the pace quickly picks up and when it does pick up…WOWZER. It’ll grab you tightly and never really let you go. There are surprises and shocks aplenty and you can never really be sure of what is going to happen.
First One Missing is a psychological thriller that is not to be missed. It’s a novel that you cannot help but become completely immersed in. It will haunt you, shock you, intrigue you, and twist your emotions until you can’t even see straight. It will also stay with you for a long time after you’ve finished reading – and it will also undoubtedly secure Tammy Cohen’s position as a top thriller writer.
A huge thank you to Sarah from Transworld for having me on board the blog tour for First One Missing & sending me a copy to read and review.♥
Tammy Cohen (who previously wrote under her formal name Tamar Cohen) has written several acclaimed novels about family fall-out:The Mistress’s Revenge, The War of the Wives, and Someone Else’s Wedding. The Broken was her first pyschological thriller, followed by Dying for Christmas. Her brand new hardback novel, First One Missing is out now.
She lives in North London with her partner and three (nearly) grown children, plus one badly behaved dog.