The Missing – C. L. Taylor


The Missing is published on 7th April 2016 by Avon

My thanks to the publishers for sending me a copy of the book.

You love your family. They make you feel safe. You trust them.

But should you…?

When fifteen-year-old Billy Wilkinson goes missing in the middle of the night, his mother, Claire, blames herself. She’s not the only one. There isn’t a single member of Billy’s family that doesn’t feel guilty. But the Wilkinson’s 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.

Claire is sure of two things – 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. Or is it?

Sometimes those closest to us are the ones with the most to hide…

My thoughts

The Missing is the latest psychological thriller by C. L. Taylor. It is about dysfunctional families, trauma and their hidden secrets.

Billy is fifteen years old. Six months ago, he went missing. No one knows what has happened to him. The family are desperate for news and are falling apart. Claire Wilkinson is the mother and we mostly get her perspective. Claire is struggling, with the pain of this loss. Where is Billy? And what are the secrets hidden beneath the surface of this seemingly perfect family?

This is an odd little family. There is Claire, the know-it-all mother, married long term to Mark. They have two children, Billy and nineteen year old, Jake. Jake’s teenage girlfriend also lives with them. They are a family, who don’t seem to really talk or share much. They reminded me of the Latimer family in Broadchurch. Claire develops partial amnesia. She finds herself in situations, with no recollection of how she got there. Over the course of the book, we witness two individuals messaging each other. They chat; at times explicitly and at others coercively. We do not fully understand what this all means, until the bitter end.

I think many readers will probably get on with The Missing better than I did. I thought Taylor failed to explore in enough detail some of the elements, that really held my attention. I loved the amnesia and its effect on Claire, and wanted to know more. I would have been happy if the entire book had been about memory loss. I found the whole dramatic side and the skewed family dynamics, a little too chick lit in style and lacking in reality. The resolution didn’t work at all. It was incredibly unsatisfying. I needed it to be darker, so much darker!

Anyway this is just my opinion. C. L. Taylor is an author well worth checking out. On this one occasion, the book didn’t quite hit the mark.



About Northern Crime

Reviewer with a mind of her own. This is a collection of book reviews, which started in 2014. Mostly crime and odd other genres thrown in. Some I loved. Some I loathed. You get the picture.
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7 Responses to The Missing – C. L. Taylor

  1. damppebbles says:

    Great review. It’s exactly how I felt about The Missing. Too chick lit and needed to be darker. Every other review I’ve read tends to give it 5 stars so it’s nice to know I’m not alone!

    • Christine says:

      I noticed that as well. I’m glad it’s getting five stars. There is an audience for this kind of crime. I gave it three stars on Goodreads.

  2. I’m intrigued but haven’t decided if I will give this a go. It may not be dark enough for me either or deep, maybe the execution is a little off perhaps.

  3. crimeworm says:

    Too chick lit? Thanks, damppebbles, that’s enough to put me off. Memory loss seems to be the “thing” since Girl On The Train, and before that, Before I Go To Sleep – it happened in the good one about the girl in the coma, the title of which escapes me, I do know the irony of that, Elizabeth Is Missing (although that was dementia), and in In Bitter Chill – although all different forms of it. Useful plot device, obviously. Peter May – The Coffin Road too.

  4. Fab review! The Missing was something of a disappointment for me, too. And I agree about the ending.

  5. I love seeing a different review in the midst of all the glowing 5 stars. Sometimes it puts me off a book when there is no counter argument at all. I loved the Lie and will definitely read The Missing but it feels better that there is someone saying it’s not perfect.

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