The town where sketchy folks tell sketchy stories.
Title: Local Girl Missing
Author: Claire Douglas
Publication Date: July 4th 2017 by Harper Paperbacks
Genre: Mystery, Psychological Thriller, Suspense
Buy the book: Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Book Depository
Twenty years ago
21-year-old Sophie Collier vanishes one night.
She leaves nothing behind but a trainer on the old pier –
and a hole in the heart of her best friend Francesca.
A body’s been found.
And Francesca’s drawn back to the seaside town she’s tried to forget.
Perhaps the truth of what happened to Sophie will finally come out.
Yet Francesca is beginning to wish she hadn’t returned.
Everywhere she turns are ghosts from her past.
The same old faces and familiar haunts of her youth.
But if someone knows what really happened to Sophie that night then now’s the time to find out – isn’t it?
Except sometimes discovering the truth can cost you everything you hold dear – your family, your sanity and even your life . . .
Thanks to Harper Collins and Edelweiss for sending me a digital copy in exchange for an honest review.
Local Girl Missing was a light (if not sad) mystery read. Yes, it wasn’t as thrilling as I thought it would be, but it’s still worth finishing. Although I don’t think I’ve ever felt so distrustful with a novel’s protagonist/story line.
Local Girl Missing tells the story of Sophie Collier and Franceca Howe’s messed up past. Sophie, who went missing 18 years ago, is now presumed dead by all the people in their town. Her best friend Frankie receives a call from Sophie’s older brother, Daniel. He tells her that the police believe that they now found Sophie’s “body. He needs her to return to the sad, murky, and gloomy Oldcliffe-on-Sea where she grew up to help him investigate. Frankie has her own reasons for staying away from that place, but she helps him anyway, knowing it’s the only way to discover the truth. She and Daniel team up to interrogate the people who might have been involved in the disappearance of Sophie… the only problem is, everyone has secrets. And they would do anything to protect it.
The problem with doing a non-spoiler review for a mystery book is that, YOU CANNOT REVIEW IT PROPERLY WITHOUT SPOILING SOMETHING. Although I am slowly learning. 😉
The dark and creepy atmosphere of Oldcliffe-on-Sea really got me. I imagined every scene that took place in that town with a bluish tone. And lots of fogs & rain. I wasn’t particularly into it since it made the reading experience a bit somnolent for me, but it did help in spooking me.
I realized that this was set in the U.K, so being the reader that I am, I read most of its chapters in my head with a British accent. 😂 Very mature, I know.
The book is told from Frankie and Sophie’s point of views. With Sophie narrating the past, and Frankie narrating the present day, with some snippets from her past. Sophie narrates through her journal entries, whilst Frankie’s chapters are written in a way that she addresses Sophie throughout the novel as if she is speaking to her.
Frankie – a successful business woman with a dead-end relationship and a very bitchy attitude. She is first introduced as calm and collected woman with a very confident persona, but as the book progresses, we see her layers slowly unravel.
Sophie – Frankie’s best friend who went missing when she was 21 years old. The police believe that she fell from the old pier and drowned, upon seeing one of her trainers at the edge of the said pier. She narrates her past through journal entries, and is described as a smart and friendly young girl.
Daniel – Sophie’s older brother who has feelings for Frankie.(shocker) He is also a cinnamon roll.
Leon – Sophie’s significant other who has a past with Frankie. (shocker) Leon is intense and very protective.
Alistair Howe – Frankie’s dad who has secrets of his own. He comes off as this jolly and chill dad/friend in the beginning, but, like his daughter, his layers slowly unravel as the story progresses.
Mary Howe – Frankie’s mom who never really tried to bond with her. In my defense, she was depressed, and Frankie was always a Daddy’s girl so
Mia – Daniel’s girlfriend, according to Frankie.
Lorcan – Leon’s pervert of a brother. (I’d love to kick this guy’s balls any day.)
Helen – Sophie’s close friend when Frankie went to boarding school. Hates Frankie.
Mike – Frankie’s live-in partner who is pining for her love.
I theorized a lot while reading this book, and I must say, it felt both satisfying and disappointing to find out that one of my theories were right.
I like that it had a lot of layers, because it kept me interested, but the book’s mystery unravels so slow, quite dragging at times. Most of its scenes felt anticlimactic, and the tension I always look forward to when reading a thriller just wasn’t there.
I felt myself thinking a lot of IFs after I read this book. “Maybe if a certain person was like this to a certain person, it wouldn’t end up like how it did…” or “If this person only did this instead of…” that sort of stuff. And it goes to show that the story may not be as engaging as I thought it would, but it will definitely make you sit and stare at the wall for a couple of minutes, just to make you think about what you just read.
- Kudos to Claire Douglas for maintaining the creepy atmosphere of Oldcliffe-on-Sea all throughout!
- After all the dull and repetitive chapters, the ending felt abrupt, and if you don’t mind me saying— quite familiar too.
- I really liked how Sophie was describing how much of a bookworm she was without being pretentious.
- I found myself unsurprised with the big revelation, since it was already the theory I had in mind.
- This book leans more towards drama than thriller.
- I really want to call out a certain character whom I despised the most…but yeah, no spoilers. But know that I hate this charcter from the bottom of my heart.
- Mia is a badass. Just saying.
I pause to retrieve my phone from my bag and then carry on, clutching it in my hand. I’m relieved that out here in the open I have some reception. When I get to the lampposts at the entrance to the pier I stop and lean against one of them to tap out a quick text to Daniel.
I have to leave, Daniel. I’m sorry. I’m going home. F x
When I look up I see you through the sleet, standing in the middle of the pier. You’re wearing jeans, your fair hair a tangle around your face. I gasp. My eyes are seeing you, yet I know that logically you can’t be there.
I blink, hot despite the cold elements, and look down at the phone still in my hand. There is no reply from Daniel. It suddenly occurs to me that I could take a photo of you, to prove to myself that I’m not going mad, but when I look up, of course you’re not there. I’m completely alone. Turning away from the pier I pull the hood of my coat further over my head and trudge up the hill to the apartment, the sleet like cold lips kissing my face.
Why do I keep seeing you when you’re dead? I’m either losing my mind or all those ghost stories we were told about the pier being haunted are true. I don’t know which prospect terrifies me more.