Local Girl Missing – Claire Douglas reviewed

Local Girl Missing
Claire Douglas
Penguin UK
August 11, 2016

The old Victorian pier was once a thing of beauty. It's also where 21-year-old Sophie Collier vanished eighteen years ago. Francesca has spent the last 20 years haunted by the disappearance of her best friend. But when she receives a phone call from Sophie's brother saying that a body has been found she knows she can't keep hiding from what happened. With her own secrets to keep, Francesca doesn't relish the idea of digging up the past or returning to Oldcliffe. But it is time to go back to where she grew up, and it looks like she isn't the only one there hiding truths

I like the idea of this story by Claire Douglas. A local girl goes missing, apparently falling off the local (& closed) old pier and friends and family from the time go their own ways. Then 18 years later the girl’s brother phones the girl’s best to say that part of a body has been found wearing a trainer that was the same as the one she had on when last seen. The book is written in two voices in fairly simple language. Frankie, the best friend, is the voice of now and she returns to the old home town in the westcountry ostensibly to help the brother search for evidence relating to the disappearance. Sophie, the girl who disappeared, is the voice in the past and this is written in part in diary form. My initial reaction was that the writing ok though I wasn’t really gripped by the story. It was obviously one of those books where secrets from the past would be gradually revealed. It is quite apparent early on in the book that both Frankie and Sophie knew & did things at the time which were “secrets” and that Frankie probably does not want the “truth” to come out.

I think the basic idea for this story was a perfectly good one and the pace kept me reading. However I simply did not find any of the characters particularly believable, real or engaging. Equally I did find some of the things that occurred more than a little incredible at times. I do see that others will find this book more appealing but for me it felt rather lightweight and lacking the real tension and edginess I would like from something that should be a thriller.

Note – I received an advance digital copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair review