TITLE: THE MISSING
AUTHOR: JANE CASEY
Sarah Finch, English teacher, is about to start teaching her class of 12 year old girls when the father of Jenny Shepherd, one of the girls, talks to the class about his daughter who has gone missing. The man is clearly worried and distraught but the other girls have no idea where little Jenny could be.
Later that day, when Sarah is out running she finds Jenny's body in local woods.
This is not the first time Sarah has to deal with a missing child. 16 years earlier her older brother Charlie disappeared and not a trace of him has been found since then. The disappearance has led to the emotional breakdown her mother still hasn't recovered from, the break-up of her Sarah's parents marriage and to Sarah feeling an obligation to look after her mother, although the woman is impossible to live with.
The new disappearance and subsequent discovery lead to Sarah reliving her memories of the years since her brother's disappearance and she finds herself trying to find out what exactly happened to Jenny while also figuring out more about her brother's disappearance.
Her curiosity will make her a suspect as well as put her in danger. Could it also bring her a chance to live her own life at last?
This was a well plotted thriller with quite a few twists and heartstopping moments. The story is well written with a nice build up of tension and I found myself compulsively turning the pages.
However, I found Sarah to be something of a frustrating heroine. She kept on making the same mistakes again and again, putting herself in dangerous situations as well as throwing suspicion on herself. The tolerance the police showed towards Sarah and her antics was way beyond realistic if you ask me, and I also felt that the book could probably have been a bit shorter.
Overall though, I think this was a very promising first novel and I will be checking Casey's second book, The Burning, out of the library soon.