Monday, February 6, 2023

Book Review: The Missing Hours

One moment, Dr. Selena Cole, a consultant on kidnap and rescue operations, is at the playground with her children . . . the next, she has vanished without a trace.

The body of Dominic Newell, a well-respected lawyer, is found on a remote mountain road, blood oozing from the stab wound in his neck.

In the sleepy borderland between England and Wales, serious crimes are rare. Which makes this Tuesday morning, with two calls coming in to the local police station, even more remarkable. Detective Constable Leah Mackay and her brother, Detective Sergeant Finn Hale, soon find their respective investigations inextricably linked. And when Selena reappears alive and unhurt twenty hours later, the mystery deepens.

The Missing Hour by Emma Kavanagh was published by Kensington Books in February of 2018.

This was a title I picked out for my library branch's mystery book club for this year. I feel like the group will enjoy it for our discussion in March.

The story itself is very tightly written, with the action taking place over the course of just about a week or so. The author draws upon her own personal experience in the psychology of kidnaps and rescue as well as police procedures to craft a thoroughly believable investigation. The narrative style is mostly first person from officers Leah and Finn, but it also includes some other brief narrations from other characters and some articles and kidnap case reports to help supplement the story. These "breaks from form" actually worked well for me in this instance so that we get a "show" vs. a mere "tell" via dialogue.

Because of the tight timetable, the author does not go into incredible background depth on the characters, but that is okay. She tells the reader what is needed for the story being told. That helps the book avoid having too much filler. The stories of the disappearance and the murder are what is key here, and the author delivers on that.

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