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The Missing (2016)

por C. L. Taylor

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A fifteen-year-old boy's disappearance exposes the guilty feelings of a family whose members have a history of lying to each other.When fifteen-year-old Billy Wilkinson goes missing in the middle of the night, there isn't a single member of Billy's family that doesn't feel guilty. The Wilkinsons 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. His mother, Claire, is sure 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... is it...?… (mais)
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4.5 stars.

The Missing by C.L. Taylor is an incredibly fast-paced and suspenseful mystery about a missing fifteen year old and his mother's attempts to locate him.

Six months after their son Billy vanished without a trace, Claire Wilkinson and her husband Mark are making a another media appearance in hopes of uncovering new information. When their appeal is derailed by their nineteen year old Jake's drunken behavior, the family becomes even more fractured than before. Jake turns to drink to help him cope, his girlfriend, Kira Simmons, who lives with the family, loses herself in her college classes and Mark continues traveling for work. However, Claire begins experiencing inexplicable episodes of amnesia that while deeply troubling, do not distract her from her increasingly frantic efforts to locate Billy.

Written primarily from Claire's perspective, her anguish and worry are palpable as she remains convinced Billy will safely return home. In the aftermath of her first terrifying fugue state, she is of course very concerned about what happened to her, but she does not allow this to keep her doing everything possible to unearth new leads about Billy. Her desperation leads to some very questionable decisions that put her into potentially dangerous situations. Claire refuses to give up hope that Billy is alive and as she tries to find out the truth about what happened to her son, she gradually realizes that she does not know her loved ones as well as she thought.

The unfolding story is interspersed with message exchanges between two unknown people that take place during the months leading up to Billy's disappearance. While it is somewhat easy to surmise one of the authors of the messages is most likely Billy, the other person's identity remains shrouded in mystery. These messages offer a distressing snapshot of Billy's activities with this person and they also provide an intriguing peek into his strained relationships at home.

The Missing is an absolutely spellbinding mystery with a clever plot and a sympathetic yet increasingly unreliable narrator. C.L. Taylor brilliantly keeps readers guessing about whether or not Billy is alive and who might be responsible for his disappearance. The message exchanges are thought-provoking and provide fascinating insight into Billy's life in the months before he vanished. However, the truth about what happened to him is cunningly concealed until the very dramatic and positively stunning conclusion. I highly scintillating psychological thriller to fans of the genre. ( )
  kbranfield | Feb 3, 2020 |
I really couldn't get into this book. It just aggravated me. I just couldn't care for any of the characters. It didn't take a lot to figure out what was going on either. I've read another book by this author and it was pretty good so maybe this one was just not for me. ( )
  justablondemoment | Jun 12, 2018 |
The Missing from C.L. Taylor is a bit of a difficult book for me to review. My views on it, while overwhelmingly positive, are often tempered by seemingly contradictory points. But here goes.

I was initially expecting more of an edge-of-my-seat thriller type of novel and this is not really that type. Some scenes certainly create that effect but on the whole this is a slow burn kind of story. I do think the term gut wrenching is appropriate but with some explanation. When talking about novels we often use that idea to signify something that is both horrible and sudden. While the event of a child going missing is sudden this story picks up months after the disappearance, so we are dealing with the drawn out experience of the many unknowns in such a situation: how, why, who, etc. In real life gut wrenching is generally a wearing down and not a sudden event (though often triggered by such an occurrence). In that respect this is closer to real life than what we regularly find in a novel. If you can adjust your expectations in this regard I believe you will be rewarded.

I saw that some couldn't empathize with the characters because they believed them to all be bad people and liars. They certainly lied but I have never met anyone who hasn't. Unfortunately, we lie far too often to those we love, many times thinking we are doing a greater good than the bad of a small lie. Those little lies can get out of hand, especially during a time of crisis. That, I think, more accurately reflects these characters than simply calling them bad as though we are above such things. Would I like to think I would not have told the same lies in their situation? Sure. But I to claim to know, well, that is simply unrealistic. Different lies will affect each reader differently, there were a couple that I really didn't like, but I am not one of the characters and the stories they told fit with their personalities so I was able to understand them even when I disagreed with them. If you really just need one character in a novel to be a perfect angel, then this might not be for you, these are written as real people going through tough times. No angels here.

What was probably the biggest negative for me is also something that was necessary in order to show the anguish as well as the story behind each character's own personal hell. It seemed like the set up was taking forever until I shifted my expectation and realized that for this novel it is the journey that moves us at least as much as the resolution. Once I made that shift I found myself much more involved in the story. But at first I just kept wondering when the action would start. This is a psychological thriller but rather than a sharp rise to a resolution the psychological suspense is developed and drawn out (in a good way).

All in all I would recommend this book to readers of psychological thrillers with the understanding that this is about the inner workings of Claire's mind (and heart) and, through her eyes, the psychological baggage of the other characters.

Reviewed from a copy made available through Goodreads First Reads. ( )
  pomo58 | Dec 10, 2017 |
Every parent's worst nightmare is for their child to go missing - not knowing if they are still alive plus feeling the guilt that somehow it must have been your fault. This novel shows the pain and guilt that Billy's family was feeling six months after he disappeared. There are secrets and anger and mystery but most important was the pain that the mother was feeling while she was still searching for her son and believing that she was seeing him in crowds. Finding her son consumed all of her thoughts and energy and made the family even more splintered.

When 15 year old Billy goes missing from the Wilkinson house in the middle of the night, his parents and older brother are sure that he will turn up the next day. Two days later they get the police involved and six months later there is still no sign of Billy. The dad and brother are sure that Billy is dead but his mom Claire is convinced that he is alive and that when she finds him, he'll come home and everything will be normal with their family again. The question after reading about this family is - were they ever normal? They don't get along and they are all keeping secrets from each other. During different parts of the book, I suspected each member of the family to be the person responsible for Billy's disappearance - even his mom who was having blackouts and ending up places that she had no memory of going to. The end was satisfying and I was totally unprepared for it.

This is my first book by C. L. Taylor and I need to order her previous two books. I highly recommend The Missing but make sure you have plenty of time set aside to read it because you won't want to put it down until you get to the end.

Thanks to the publisher and TLC Books Tours for a copy of this book to read and review. ( )
  susan0316 | Nov 3, 2017 |
I couldn't wait to read The Missing after having loved C.L. Taylor's previous two books. I wasn't disappointed. Claire Wilkinson's 15 year old son, Billy, disappeared six months ago without a trace. When the book starts, Claire and her husband are about to do an appeal. The story is told by Claire in the first person and this works really well as she starts to find things out about the people who are closest to her. Every so often throughout the book, there are transcripts of a text conversation that really leave the reader guessing. I veered all the way through between thinking this person, that person, the other person had something to do with Billy's disappearance. Very clever writing on the part of the author.

I could barely put this book down. I found it gripping and read it pretty much in two big chunks. The chapters are short and kept me turning the pages, particularly as most of the chapters ended on a cliffhanger so I needed to read a bit more to see what it was all about. I love this author's writing - she writes realistic psychological thrillers, unlike some of the books around where the story sometimes seems too contrived to deliver twists and turns. Great stuff! ( )
  nicx27 | Apr 20, 2016 |
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A fifteen-year-old boy's disappearance exposes the guilty feelings of a family whose members have a history of lying to each other.When fifteen-year-old Billy Wilkinson goes missing in the middle of the night, there isn't a single member of Billy's family that doesn't feel guilty. The Wilkinsons 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. His mother, Claire, is sure 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... is it...?

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