REVIEW: The Missing - C L Taylor

3/5

The latest thriller from C L Taylor came out a few months ago (April 2016) to huge praises. Although this novel hasn’t been flying off the shelves like Gone Girl or Girl On The Train, it’s making waves amongst fans of psychological thrillers and dark fiction. While it is far from the most brutal or horrifying release, I did enjoy the pace, the twists and the mystery beyond The Missing. As with all of C L Taylor’s novels, she’s great at dropping clues and letting her readers attempt to figure out what’s going on. I was certain I’d figured it all out at one point, but it turned out I was wrong, and the skill to create those types of twists, which all make sense by the end of the story, is extraordinary.

You might be wondering why after having praised the book so much, I still only see it as a 3/5. Well, having read The Lie and The Accident, and now The Missing, I’m beginning to notice a bit of a trend in C L Taylor’s novels. Okay, so that is somewhat inevitable and to some extent she’s probably writing in a way that suits her. However, I’m a little bored of the repetitive family dynamics led by the middle-aged frazzled woman. All of C L Taylor’s protagonists blend in my memory because while they are believable, both flawed but not utterly pathetic, they are painfully generic. I love thinking back to a book I’ve read and being able to pinpoint a particularly memorable character, one so unique that they’ve stuck with me. For all her successful qualities, that is one that C L Taylor has not yet mastered.

The Missing centres on a mother named Claire whose son Billy goes missing prior to the start of the novel. The strained family relationships are pushed as the search for Billy continues, with Claire’s husband Mark keeping secrets, her son Jake becoming increasingly troubled, and Jake’s girlfriend Kira seeming unreachable. Jake was my favourite character, probably because he was the only one I could picture and understand. His voice was the most distinctive and unique, so I was completely disappointed at the end of the novel when there really should have been a reflective chapter from Jake’s perspective and there just… Wasn’t.

In between Claire’s chapters throughout the bulk of the story were a series of messages shared between two characters whose identities were hidden. This provided the real guess-work and fun as a reader and I thought it was masterfully written in the way that you had enough information to think, but not enough to be sure of anything. With all of that in mind, The Missing was an enjoyable read. It didn’t blow me away and I’m a little nervous for what’s next from C L Taylor, but it has to be said that The Missing was well-written and kept me gripped.

I’m hoping that C L Taylor makes more of her potential in her future novels and perhaps pushes the boundaries of her writing a little bit. A new protagonist is needed to continue the hype of her releases.

In the meantime you can get your copy of The Missing here.

Love, Jess

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