You love your family. They make you feel safe. You trust them. Or do you…?
When fifteen-year-old Billy Wilkinson goes missing in the middle of the night, his mother, Claire Wilkinson, blames herself. She’s not the only one. There isn’t a single member of Billy’s family that doesn’t feel guilty. But the Wilkinson’s are so used to keeping secrets from one another that it isn’t until six months later, after an appeal for information goes horribly wrong, that the truth begins to surface.
Claire is sure of two things – that Billy is still alive and that her friends and family had nothing to do with his disappearance.
A mother’s instinct is never wrong. Or is it?
Despite being convinced that Billy is still alive, Claire is understandably distraught at the loss of her youngest son and is consumed by guilt and regret. However, she’s not the only one who is feeling guilty. As the story progresses it soon becomes clear that the whole family are hiding secrets of their own. Who really knows more about Billy’s disappearance than they are letting on? Dun, dun DUN….
The Missing is one of those books that I couldn’t wait to get hold of. Everyone was talking about it and it’s a widely acknowledged fact by now that C.L. Taylor is one heck of a writer (this being her third psychological thriller. If you haven’t already, make sure you check out her other books, too. They are equally as amazing…)
This novel promised so much; drama, upset, the complexity of families, secrets, lies – the list is endless and The Missing delivered on every single aspect.
At the start of the story we join Claire as she is preparing to deliver a press conference to urge the public for information as to the whereabouts of her son. Six months have passed since Billy disappeared from his home one night and Claire is hoping that the appeal will help to renew interest.
However, it soon becomes apparent that the Wilkinson family are, understandably, falling apart. From Billy’s Dad, Mark, to his sister Jake and Jake’s girlfriend Kira, the whole family are struggling. As a reader you feel such empathy for this family and all that they are going through. I particularly felt for Claire and felt my heart was breaking for her. I felt her fear, I felt her desperation and I also felt her overwhelming love for her child. How do you even begin to cope with such an horrific thing as your child going missing?
The family dynamics that C. L Taylor brings up within the story are fascinating.The events which follow the press conference throw up more secrets than anyone could ever have imagined and things seem to go from bad to worse. The story takes on an unexpected twist when Claire starts experiencing ‘fugues’ which are periods of time when she loses her memory. She would suddenly come round from one of these episodes and have no recollection of where she is, how she got there or what she’d been doing. This seems to be happening whenever Claire makes a significant discovery about Billy or something triggers a memory to do with her son’s disappearance. Claire then starts to worry that she subconsciously knows more about what really happened to Billy that she realised. The plot continues to thicken as Claire discovers secrets about those closest to her that she could never have imagined.
The way the story unfolds is dramatic and perfectly paced. At times you almost feel on the edge of a discovery that never quite comes. This leaves you frantically turning the pages (and possibly gnawing away at your nails at the same time.) I frequently had my suspicions throughout the story which were mostly way off the mark. Whilst I’m no Miss Marple I love it when an author can completely throw me off the scent and have me looking in totally the wrong direction (my nails, however, don’t…) It was also really smartly formatted; not only told from Claire’s viewpoint, we also are shown snippets from various instant message conversations. However, you have no idea who the two participants are (you will have an inkling who the one person is and this does become clearer, but the other persons identity remains a mystery until much later in the novel.)
C.L. Taylor’s writing never fails to disappoint me, it’s incredibly clever and her style is really sharp and punchy which provides the perfect foundations for a story like this. She has created strong, memorable characters who you will quickly form opinions on, whilst never quite knowing which of them you can trust.
The Missing has such a big, juicy storyline and is a dream read if you like books that will keep you guessing and take on plenty of twists and turns. This novel is doing amazingly well and it is so deserving of all the praise it’s been receiving. All in all, a sleep-depriving page-turner that will make you question how much you really know about those closest to you…
Her dark psychological thriller THE ACCIDENT was published in the UK by Avon HarperCollins in April 2014 and as BEFORE I WAKE in the US in June 2014 by Sourcebooks.
Her second psychological thriller THE LIE was published in the UK in April 2015. It became a Sunday Times bestseller and hit the #1 slots on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play and Sainsbury ebooks. It will be published in the US in June 2016.
CL’s third psychological thriller THE MISSING will be published in the UK on 7th April 2016. She is currently writing her fourth (to be published in April 2017).
Her international bestselling romantic comedies (written as Cally Taylor), HEAVEN CAN WAIT and HOME FOR CHRISTMAS were both published by Orion in the UK. They have been translated into 14 different languages, and her debut was voted ‘Debut Novel of the Year’ by chicklitreviews.com and chicklitclub.com.
In 2014 HOME FOR CHRISTMAS was made into a feature film by JumpStart Productions. For more information visit www.homeforchristmasfilm.com