Book review: Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica

Wednesday, June 23, 2021 Permalink

I’m a fan of suspense novelist Mary Kubica and though haven’t read all of her novels I very much enjoyed When the Lights Go Out and Pretty Baby.

Her latest, Local Woman Missing, is an intriguing read – unfolding in two timeframes. All of the bad stuff – women disappearing – happens 11 years ago, and in the present chickens come home to roost and secrets are uncovered. Or something.

Book review: Local Woman Missing by Mary KubicaLocal Woman Missing
by Mary Kubica
Published by Park Row
on 18/05/2021
Source: Harlequin
Genres: Thriller / Suspense
ISBN: 0778311430
Pages: 352

Shelby Tebow is the first to go missing. Not long after, Meredith Dickey and her six-year-old daughter, Delilah, vanish just blocks away from where Shelby was last seen, striking fear into their once-peaceful community.

Are these incidents connected? After an elusive search that yields more questions than answers, the case eventually goes cold.

The book opens in the past with – what we learn is – the death of Shelby Tebow. We meet her only briefly but she doesn’t seem very likeable so it’s probably good we’re only with her for a few pages. And what we learn later doesn’t endear her to us any more. (Not that I’m implying she deserves her fate!!!!)

The book then moves on to the present and a young girl held prisoner in a basement. It’s obvious she’s been there for some time but we’re there because she’s working on an escape plan. I was already rooting for her and worried she’d meet a grisly fate, so it’s a bit of spoiler (but not) to share that she’s able to escape and tell someone her name.

It’s the name of a girl who’d disappeared 11 years earlier along with her mother.

Much of this novel is set in the past. Our guides (then) are Meredith – until her disappearance – and her neighbour Kate. Kate’s devastated for Meredith’s husband Joshua and son Leo so attempts to try to put together the missing pieces. Until it seems there’s no point.

In the present we spend time with Leo, Delilah’s younger brother, now 15 who’s grappling with the stranger who’s returned to their house. She knows little of where she’s spent the last 11 years and he and his father struggle to bond with her in the way they expected.

There is – however – a huge twist here and nothing is as it seems. Everything is linked but not in the way we’re expecting. The big bad is not one we predicted, which is both diabolical and whatever-the-opposite-of-poignant-is.

It’s an abrupt about-turn though Kubica doesn’t push the pace too quickly and rush to the climax. The big reveal(s) are well-timed and it’s easy for readers to keep up. Even if it does feel a little unsatisfactory in a not-so-happy-ending kind of way.

Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica is an excellent read and available soon in Australia thanks to HQ Fiction (Harper Collins).

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. 


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