Friday, June 10, 2011

Missing Persons by Clare O'Donohue

book cover

Missing Persons
by Clare O'Donohue

ISBN-13: 9780452297067
Trade Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Plume
Released: May 31, 2011

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Kate Conway's husband--soon-to-be ex-husband--is dead of what appears to be a heart attack. Initially, his family blames the stress of the divorce proceedings--and Kate, though Frank was the one who was having an affair and who started the divorce. But since Frank was healthy and had no heart problems, the police start looking into it as a suspicious death. If it turns out to be murder, it's clear they think Kate is a prime suspect. To make matters worse--and weirder--the woman Frank was having an affair with suddenly wants to be friends with Kate.

So when she's offered a new freelance TV producer assignment on a series called Missing Persons, it's a welcome distraction. Kate eagerly throws herself into the story of Theresa Moretti, a seemingly angelic young woman who disappeared a year earlier. All Kate wants is a heart-tugging story on tape that will earn her future work, but apparently someone feels threatened by the questions she's asking: a dead bird is left for her and other strange things occur designed to scare her. Or is that connected with her husband's death? She's not sure, but she's certain she wants it to stop. The only way to do that is to keep digging for the truth...

My Review:
Missing Persons is a fast-paced, well-written mystery. Actually, there's several mysteries: how did Kate's husband die, what happened the the missing girl that she's producing a TV episode about, and who is trying to scare Kate? The mystery wasn't predictable--in a good way--and was handled more like these things would occur in real life. And while there were plenty of clues, I never felt certain about the "whodunit" until after the reveal.

The characters were realistic, varied, and complex. They dealt with realistic struggles about life not ending up like they had expected. Vivid details about her job as a freelance TV episode producer for Crime TV and about the people brought the story alive in my imagination. I would become so immersed in the story that I lost all track of time, and I had a hard time setting the book down even when I really needed to. I felt like this story really could have happened, and I plan on re-reading it someday.

There was some explicit bad language. There were no sex scenes. From the book description, I wasn't sure I'd like the story, but I did. Overall, I'd highly recommend this very well-written book.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
"I want you to tell me about the day your husband was murdered."

The woman glanced toward the camera before returning her eyes to me. Then, in a quiet tone, she launched into the story. It was one she must have told a hundred times in the last three years--to police, family, friends, prosecutors, and, now, to me.

Her husband had managed one of those excessively cheerful chain restaurants in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. He'd recently started putting in a lot of hours because the couple was saving for their first home and planning a family. He'd wanted, as the woman now told me, to give them a secure future. But it wasn't to be. One night, after he'd closed the restaurant and let the rest of the employees go home, he stayed to send some e-mails to the corporate office. While he worked, two men broke into the restaurant, one of them an ex-employee. Fearing identification, the men shot the husband in the face. His last words, apparently, were, "Tell my wife I love her." The killers were caught six hours later, having stolen only forty dollars. The rest of the day's take had already been deposited at the bank by the assistant manager.

"Forty dollars," the woman repeated, still struggling to believe that her husband had been murdered, and her future shattered, for so paltry a sum.

She told the story beautifully, and with remarkable composure. But as I listened, nodding my head empathetically, my eyes glistening as if on the verge of tears, all I could think was--this would be so much better if she cried.

Read more from chapter one and two.

1 comment:

Kandra in Tennessee said...

A clean read? I'm sorry to disagree with you, but I am so surprised that you approved of this book. After reading just part of chapter one, I had to stop. The profanity and vulgar language (not just in conversations, either) were shocking to me. These are not mild "slang" words.
I trusted you, and I'm disappointed that you favorably reviewed this book as a clean novel.
I'm hoping now that I don't win the giveaway!