Missing by Erin Kinsley

Today I’m bringing you my thoughts on Missing, the brand new novel from Erin Kinsley. I read and really enjoyed the author’s previous novel, Innocent, earlier this year and so was delighted to be asked to join in the blog tour for the latest offering. My thanks to publisher, Headline, for the advance copy for review. Here’s what it’s all about:

Source: Advance Reader Copy
Release Date: Ebook – 01 July 2021
Paperback – 19 August 2021
Publisher: Headline

About the Book

A MOTHER WALKS INTO THE SEA . . . AND NEVER COMES BACK. WHY?

One perfect summer day, mother of two Alice walks into the sea . . . and never comes back.

Her daughters – loyal but fragile Lily, and headstrong, long-absent Marietta – are forcibly reunited by her disappearance.

Meanwhile, with retirement looming, DI Fox investigates cold cases long since forgotten. And there’s one obsession he won’t let go: a tragic death twenty years before.

Can Lily and Marietta uncover what happened to their mother? Will Fox solve a mystery that has haunted him for decades? As their stories unexpectedly collide, long-buried secrets will change their lives in unimaginable ways.

A gripping and emotional new thriller perfect for fans of Cara Hunter, Heidi Perks, Claire Douglas and Linda Green.

My Thoughts

I know that this book is billed as a thriller, but, if I’m being honest, I think it would be wrong to classify the novel in such simplistic terms. It’s far more than that. From what I have read of Erin Kinsley’s work so far, they all are. Yes, there are elements of your thriller in play here – a death in dubious circumstances, dark secrets taken to the grave and a mystery which has plagued the conscience of one of Devon and Cornwall’s finest for more than two decades – but beyond that, Missing is a study of grief, of family relationships and about the powerful emotion of guilt. From the very first chapter you can feel the undertone of melancholy, the dual sense of despair and resignation that fills Alice as she approaches her fate. In those few short pages, the emotional pull is strong and I found myself being not only intrigued but somewhat consumed by the story, keen to see what has driven Alice to such a decision.

The largest part of the story is given over to Marietta and Lily, Alice’s two daughters, who not only have to deal with their mother’s death but also to struggle with the acceptance that it may have come at her own hand. The two women are very different, and their relationship with Alice could not have been more different. The story explores not only the complexity of their relationship with each other and their mother, but the two very different ways in which grief manifests itself in their voice and their actions. Whilst Marietta seems the stronger of the two women, it is clear that a large part of her life has been about avoidance and her confidence masks a whole host of emotions that play out over the pages of the book. Lily, by contrast, is the more obviously emotional, with challenges and fears of her own which go well beyond the loss of their mother. The author has done a brilliant job of evoking that emotion on the page, but also in creating two characters who, in spite of their clear diversity, are obviously stronger together, and who I grew to like very quickly.

This book contains some difficult scenes, not dealt with in any gratuitous or graphic way, but it would take a hard heart to not be moved by what comes to pass, or what we are made aware of in terms of the case that Detective Inspector Russ Fox is investigating. It is a very heart wrenching case and one which doesn’t seem to have any immediate link to Alice or the two daughters she leaves behind. But Erin Kinsley has done a brilliant job in weaving the two stories together, keeping key details back and drip feeding them at just the right moments, allowing me as the reader, to form my own opinions, my suspicions as it were, and to see them slowly realised on the page.

Setting is quite key in this book and from the churning sea where this story begins, to the remote farmland where many dark secrets have been concealed over the years, each location is described so clearly, so visually, that I could picture them quite clearly. Much like the tidal waters along the coast, the pacing, and emotional pull, ebbs and flows, and the sense of mystery grows the more we learn of the sisters and of the characters that appear on the periphery of both their lives and DI Fox’s investigation. The reveal, when it comes, is both understated and dramatic at the same time, and yet, very fitting to the rest of the book.

This is a story steeped in sadness, a series of events which stemmed from one awful night and which came to inform the tragedy of the present day. And yet the author still manages to instill a feeling of hope, a sense of new beginnings and second chances, leaving us with a truly satisfying ending to another powerful and emotional story that held my attention from start to finish.

About the Author

Erin Kinsley is a full-time writer. She grew up in Yorkshire and currently lives in East Anglia. 

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