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Review: MISSING: Psychological revelation of family secrets by James McEwan

September 25, 2019

About the Book:

A subtle, psychological revelation of family secrets.

“Trust me it is better to accept a lie than invent the truth.”

Family history defines your identity but forgotten secrets may obscure the truth. Do you know who you are?

A mystery of family bonds, love, lies, deception, and jealousy.

The authorities place three-year-old Laura with a foster family. No one tells her why. Fifteen years later, Laura’s trauma of feeling abandoned erupts in violence during a family history project. She has no relatives, no past life – she is a nobody.

Laura returns to her birthplace to trace her parents and find out why they left her. In the Russet House attic, Laura finds old newspaper reports and reads of tragic events. Her mother is missing. Her father is dead.

She persuades a retired police detective to investigate the unsolved mystery and find her mother. This unsettles her newly found relatives who advise her to go home and let the past rest.

Through shocking turns, a fifteen-year-old secret unravels in a final twist.
Laura’s search for her family reveals her identity was a lie.

My thoughts:

There is a terrific creep factor in the writing with this novel.

James McEwan paints a compelling picture of small town life, of families closing ranks against an outsider, of secrets and lies and murder.

Laura return’s to the place of her birth to learn the truth about why she was fostered away. Why would her parents give her up? Through a series of detailed investigations involving genealogy searches, photos, old news papers and a trunk hidden in an attic, Laura starts to unravel the truth and exposes a terrible family secret putting her own life at risk in the process.

The pace of the unwinding plot is nicely balanced with the odd way family members can hold two conversations at once, lying and revealing the truth inside at times banal conversations. A clever tale of a family’s destruction.

Laura wants the truth, but finding it will hurt her more than she can ever know.

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