Posted in books, Review

#4 Book Review: Missing, Presumed

I got this book at a train station WHSmith as I was about to undertake a long train journey and needed something to transport me elsewhere while my phone recharged… Literally judging the books by their covers, ‘Missing, Presumed’ was the one that stood out to me; Top five in the charts, unfinished sentence on the cover, looks kind of scary; I was keen to learn more. 
The premise of this story was the mystery disappearance of a young woman and the distinct lack of clues to answer whether she was kidnapped or killed. This sounded, to me, kind of standard when it comes to a crime novel – the lead character would likely find something others had missed and ultimately follow all the clues to solve the case. 

Maybe the person who had been missing would help in some way…

Maybe there would be a stranger who would come forward with more information or another character would crack under the stress of trying to live with their crime and spill all… 

At any rate, the case would be solved with some injury (physical or mental) to those involved and truth would win out. Case closed. 

This book, however, while gripping when the case was being followed and more leads being uncovered, felt like it was going a little slow at times. The story is told from multiple people’s viewpoints along the way – which provided some excellent insight into how the different characters see each other and sheds a light on their choices and, in some cases, changed my opinion of them entirely. That being said, I felt that, while DS Bradshaw’s love life was an interesting side-line, it felt like more focus should have been on the case rather than the team’s personal issues. 

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed learning about them all and it’s a great backdrop for the next book in the series but I felt that the pace of the book was hindered at times. Missing, Presumed is worth a read I’d say, but I would have appreciated a stronger female role. Here are the top three that stuck out for me:

Spoilers below – in case there are those who haven’t read it yet

Edith – the girl who went missing – had the flimsiest excuse for her disappearance. She saw her father with a body in the boot of his car and she fled to France?… Are you kidding? She had her reasons but they were so self-serving! Her choice to just ditch the entire situation in order not to deal with it caused two deaths with one of them being one of her closest friends! She didn’t even call home when there was a man-hunt underway because she felt it had gone too far. Sure, your parents think you’ve been killed but that’s ok because at least the police and the public don’t think they’ve been wasting their time and money…

Miriam – Edith’s mother – was one of the strongest roles. She tried to find more leads for her daughter’s disappearance as well as cope with a husband who was berating her for grieving for their loss. She even went to hunt Edith down in France once the clues pointed in that direction and convinced her to come back! After all of this, her high-profile friends trying to dissociate with her and discovering that her husband was having an affair with the guy he ultimately killed – by accident or on purpose was never really proved – she stuck by him. In my opinion, she should have taken a leaf out of “The Good Wife” and done what she wanted to with her life. Maybe that’s what she was doing but I think she deserved better seeing as she was so resilient through such a dark time. Maybe I’m a bit cynical… 

Manon – The main protagonist. I’m not sure what to make of Manon… dealing with scum bags on Edith’s case, office politics not to mention getting drunk one night and saying some pretty awful things is hard by any standard, but on top of this she was looking for love. Not something to shun by any means and she was really going for it! She knew when to call a spade a spade and she didn’t sell herself short. Major props DS Bradshaw! When she did find love, however, she seemed to lose her edge… I’m not one of those that tell people they’ve changed when they get into a relationship just because they’re spending more time loved up and less time drinking margaritas with their gal-pals but Manon let someone else make her believe she wasn’t worth being fully committed to and she just played along like it was fine. She began to live for this guy who didn’t reciprocate other than sexually and I think she deserved better! I don’t think that that particular storyline gets across a great message about how women (or indeed men) should allow anyone to make them feel inferior just because they’re set in their ways… it’s a mutual decision, people… but maybe this is a stepping stone to the next book (you can, however, see how this kind of detail made some pauses in the pace of finding Edith – it’s all good stuff though). 

All in all, I did enjoy the novel. I’m more used to fast paced books and this just wasn’t really. The content was exciting and showed a lot of depth into human relationships and trust and friendships so it was good… just not great.