When a mother and her six-year-old daughter go missing shortly after a young woman disappears from their peaceful suburban locality, the community folks begin to consider the presence of a serial kidnapper.
More than a decade later, the daughter, Delilah, comes back, reopening the investigation into the disappearances. Mary Kubica’s Local Woman Missing is an intriguing exploration of the battle between self-preservation and morality.
I was hooked to the book from the beginning. Firstly because of Mary Kubica’s writing style. It is amped up by rapidly unspooling scenes and dart-like sentences that build tension. The chapters alternate between the points of view of 3-5 characters, all of whom play significant roles in furthering the plot.
If you get queasy with uncomfortable topics or are a sensitive reader, the first few pages may be jarring. But if you’re able to bear that, you’ll be in for a treat in the subsequent chapters.
Having read a lot (seriously, that’s an understatement!) of thrillers and mysteries, I always assume that I’d be able to predict the storyline or who the culprit is, but not in this one. Everything I’d guessed would quickly be proven wrong with the barrage of developments and twists the author has added to the novel.
I really like the tie-back ending followed in one of the parallel narrative sequences, where we get to read about Meredith (the mother) and the events leading up to her disappearance.
Don’t go into the book expecting much in terms of character arcs because you get only glimpses of characters based on their involvement in the relationships, friendships, and mystery that form the crux of the plot. Nevertheless, you’ll certainly enjoy the pace at which the story is being told.
A couple of things that I didn’t particularly like are:
- The theme of adultery. This is usually recurrent in many of the mystery novels I’ve read. And I’ve grown weary of it so much so that it puts me off the book especially because it tends to be used as a cookie-cutter theme. But luckily, several other elements in Local Woman Missing made up for it.
- The fact that Meredith was holding off on telling her husband about what’s going on with her as she “didn’t want to worry him”. I detest this trope with a passion! So much of the chaos and trouble could’ve been abated had she just been upfront with him.
- There are some loopholes in the book that require suspension of belief for you to get past it and be convinced of the chain of events. I didn’t mind it all that much, but it would’ve been great if these aspects had been well-fleshed out.
Overall, I had a great reading experience and would definitely recommend Local Woman Missing to everyone who is looking for a fast-paced and multi-layered mystery novel.