Rating: 3 Stars
The Missing by C. L. Taylor, is the story of a family torn apart by the disappearance of their son/ brother. Billy Wilkinson, a troubled fifteen-year-old, goes missing after an argument with his parents. Six months later, there is still no sign of Billy, and his family is splintering under the stress and uncertainty.
Claire Wilkinson, Billy’s mother, feels it in her bones that Billy is still alive, and so, she is eager to send out a second appeal for information. At the press conference, things don’t go according to plan, and Claire begins to realise that her family has been keeping secrets from each other. All of them have a reason to feel guilty about Billy’s disappearance, and slowly the truth begins to unravel in front of Claire’s eyes.
On top of all this, Claire starts having blackouts, waking up in most unusual and scary places, with no memory of the preceding hours. In these circumstances, as you read on, you realise that Claire, as a narrator, is not so reliable herself.
The book is fast paced and interesting. It shows the stress that families go through when a loved one goes missing, and how every individual has a different way of dealing with the stress. There is also the element of teenage angst and rebellion, and the unpredictability of a teenager’s mind. The overall picture that is painted here, however, is creepy and somewhat disgusting.
As the mom of a teenage son, I was not comfortable with reading about a delinquent fifteen-year-old and his rebellious attitude. There are some things that become horrifying when read in the context of a teenager. It is so in this book as well. The truth, when revealed, is so disgusting and revolting, that you wish you hadn’t read it.
As a story, there is suspense in the story, until about halfway through, when the message exchanges between two unknown individuals start making sense. From there on, you are almost sure about what must have happened. Still, the story keeps you interested till the end, which in my opinion is a bit of a letdown. After using such language, imagery and story arcs, the end seems too tame and predictable to me. Nonetheless, the book is interesting and worth a read if you are a fan of dark psychological thrillers.
Warning: This book contains sex, strong language, and Paedophilia.