Review: The Missing by C.L. Taylor

Sunday 10 April 2016
Title: The Missing
Author: C.L. Taylor
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: 7th April 2016
Pages: 400
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5
Purchase: Amazon
You love your family. They make you feel safe. You trust them.

But should you…?

When fifteen-year-old Billy Wilkinson goes missing in the middle of the night, his mother, Claire, blames herself. She's not the only one. There isn't a single member of Billy's family that doesn't feel guilty. But the Wilkinson’s are so used to keeping secrets from one another that it isn't until six months later, after an appeal for information goes horribly wrong, that the truth begins to surface.

Claire is sure of two things – that Billy is still alive and that her friends and family had nothing to do with his disappearance.

A mother's instinct is never wrong. Or is it?

Sometimes those closest to us are the ones with the most to hide…

C.L. Taylor's The Accident was one of the very first books I read after starting the blog and it's almost a year since I reviewed her second novel, The Lie, after receiving a copy of the book in an incredibly inventive way (take a look here if you missed it first time round). I was very excited about reading The Missing because of how much I have enjoyed Cally's previous two books and I began the book with an expectation that it would carry on the standard of those two novels.

I have read a number of novels these past two years blogging which centre around missing children, but The Missing doesn't focus on another missing infant but instead on fifteen-year-old Billy Wilkinson. Still a child, but old enough that the story can explore themes and subjects that don't feel repetitive. Billy Wilkinson went missing in the middle of the night, and his whole family carry their own guilt about what could possibly have led to his disappearance, including his mother Claire who blames herself. But, of two things she is sure and they are that Billy is still alive, and that her friends and family had nothing to do with his disappearance. Are either of those assumptions - her 'mother's instinct' - correct? Well, Cally Taylor takes the reader on a quite a journey to find out.

In a lot of missing person cases suspicion eventually falls onto the family members themselves and that's pretty much how I went into this story from the off. I began reading and immediately tried to distance myself from some of the characters because I didn't know whether or not to trust them, especially as we learn more about their actions leading up to Billy's disappearance, and even more so with some of their behaviour in the present day. Whilst Cally creates a very believable picture of a family struggling to cope with the disappearance of someone they love, there's still that undercurrent of mystery and suspense the whole way through the novel and so that's why I continued to be wary of each and every character.

Every single time I read a book like this, I look back on it after the event and marvel at how the author spun such a tale. I enjoy reading about an author's writing process for a novel and so I would love to know how Cally planned and eventually wrote this story. When the red herrings and twists came about in her mind, and of course whether the final resolution would always have been the same. Whilst reading I came up with a couple of scenarios in my head of what might have happened to Billy and despite the fact that the ending probably was the best one that could have been written for the story, I do still think there's a number of different ways things could have played out. C.L. Taylor goes from strength to strength with The Missing and I have no hesitation in recommending this novel.


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