Review: The Missing by Chris Mooney

Monday, 19 January 2015
Title: The Missing
Author: Chris Mooney
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: 3rd May 2007
Source: Purchased
Pages: 416
ISBN: 9780241957417
Rating: 3.5/5
Purchase: Amazon
The woman missing for five years.

The Crime Scene Investigator who finds her.

And the serial killer who wants them both dead ...

When Boston CSI Darby McCormick finds a raving and emaciated woman hiding at the scene of a violent kidnap, she runs a DNA search to identify the Jane Doe. The result confirms she was abducted five years earlier and has somehow managed to escape from the dungeon in which she's been caged.

With a teenage couple also missing and Jane Doe seriously ill, the clock is ticking for Darby as she hunts for the dungeon before anyone else disappears or dies. And when the FBI takes over the investigation, it becomes clear that a sadistic serial killer has been on the prowl for decades - and is poised to strike again at any moment. A killer with links to horrors that Darby has desperately tried to bury in her past ...


Chris Mooney is an author I have wanted to read for a long time but for some reason I've just never got round to picking up one of his books. I then became a blogger, and a few weeks ago I realised that I was neglecting so many books that I wanted to read, and I want to try and get a balance of new reviews and reviews of older books on the blog. It's rather refreshing to read solely for enjoyment, rather than over thinking what I'm going to write and making notes while I read plus readers of my blog may discover a book that they missed when it was first released.

The premise to The Missing doesn't stand out as the most original, though I was pleased to see that our main character, Darby McCormick, is a Crime Scene Investigator and not a police detective which did make this book a little different from other crime reads. As a huge fan of the CSI franchise I am aware that the role of CSIs in fiction is greatly exaggerated, and it did feel at times that Darby's actions and the work that she carried out was not representative of a real-life CSI but obviously for the purpose of the story this was needed (and this is the case with most crime fiction books, not just The Missing). I do find forensic science very interesting however, so I very much enjoyed reading a book where much of the focus was on obtaining evidence, processing it and ultimately trying to use it to capture a villain but on the other side of the coin it was fascinating watching how easily the killer was able to manipulate the police by falsifying and planting evidence.

A horror movie style opening introduces Darby as a teenager narrowly escaping from a man attempting to kill her, but not before he kills one of her friends and kidnaps the other. The man is then apprehended and we travel to the present day where Darby as a CSI is called to a home where a teenage boy has been shot, and his girlfriend kidnapped. Meanwhile an emaciated woman is found hiding under the house and it soon becomes clear the kidnapper left her behind and Darby is soon hunting for the kidnapper's 'dungeon' and not only that but he could be the man that tried to kill her all those years ago, despite the fact he should be dead. The chase as they say is on. From the blurb and the cover I went into this hoping for something along the lines of Chris Carter (gruesome, bloody etc) as this is how I like my crime fiction and in places The Missing was exactly that we also follow the killer which is something I always enjoy, allowing us to get inside their head and see them (almost always) keep one step ahead of the police for much of the book. There are some brilliant twists in the book involving the killer, but obviously I can't say any more than that!

At times the book moved a little slow for my liking, I wasn't bored but I did wish things would just move on a bit quicker than they were. This is the first book in a series, and so it's our first time meeting Darby and her history had to be relayed to us, and the various characters that make up her working life also had to be established. As the series progresses hopefully the author will fill in these introductory parts with the action that was at times missing in The Missing (no pun intended). Despite me mostly reading series when it comes to crime fiction, there's one thing about them I dislike and that is when the main character finds him or herself in the killer's sights, we all know that the main character is never going to be killed off, therefore almost all tension is lost and with the killer in this book having a close link to Darby herself, I didn't want the focus to be solely on the killer hunting Darby, as that would have soon become boring. I did work a couple of things out quite easily but Mooney did manage to keep one thing from me, and it was a twist that very much slapped me in the face, and it was brilliant! Overall this was an enjoyable read, and I'm definitely going to be continuing with this series (and I'll be starting the second book, The Secret Friend, very soon).

3.5/5

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