This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Reviewed by Susan Lobban
For as long as she can remember, Kali McKenzie has had a strained relationship with her mother Elena. Upon Elena’s death, Kali is left with no real sense of who her mother really was. Whilst sorting through her mother’s belongings, however, she finds a drawer full of postcards all with the same message – Thinking of you, Susannah. Could this person hold the key to Elena’s past?
On a whim, Kali decides to travel to Susannah’s home on a remote British Columbian island, with her toddler Finn in tow. However, as she arrives to horrendous weather, she realizes that she has made a big mistake, but there is no turning back. Taking refuge against the elements at Susannah’s house seems like a good idea at the time, but as Kali tries to find out more about her mother’s past, Susannah’s behaviour becomes more and more erratic. Instead of a safe haven with her mother’s oldest friend, she has unintentionally placed herself and her son in danger.
Throughout her life Kali has never been close to her mother, however this is not from a lack of trying on her part. Elena has always kept her eldest daughter at arms length and Kali has no idea why. She had even hoped that when she had her own child, Elena would take some interest, but she was wrong in this assumption, too. So when Elena dies, Kali’s hopes of a close mother-daughter relationship die with her.When Kali is looking through her mother’s things, she finds numerous postcards all from the same person, Susannah, who Kali has never heard mention of and this is the catalyst for an impromptu trip to British Columbia. As soon as Kali arrives, the mood of the book changes; it goes from being an innocent fact-finding trip to something much more sinister. The weather descriptions certainly set the tone for things to come and I felt shivers imagining the freezing temperatures and what Kali may find out. Susannah was certainly a mysterious character and her reaction to Finn alone, was worth reading on for.
I found this book to be a slow burner, as for a good portion of it you are none the wiser to where the story is headed. However, once Kali arrives at her destination, the speed picks up and you can’t help but keep turning the pages to find out more. The detailed parts of Elena’s dolphins and whales did not interest me and as such slowed the pace down again. However, the climax built the tension up again as I still could not figure out how everything would end and I was eager that all the remaining questions would go answered.
The Missing One is an atmospheric and tense read, which is worth persevering through. Elena’s past turns out to be as murky as the weather of the remote island she once inhabited.