I review Local Girl Missing by Claire Douglas.
Twenty years ago
21-year-old Sophie Collier vanishes one night.
She leaves nothing behind but a trainer on the old pier –
and a hole in the heart of her best friend Francesca.
A body’s been found.
And Francesca’s drawn back to the seaside town she’s tried to forget.
Perhaps the truth of what happened to Sophie will finally come out.
Yet Francesca is beginning to wish she hadn’t returned.
Everywhere she turns are ghosts from her past.
The same old faces and familiar haunts of her youth.
But if someone knows what really happened to Sophie that night then now’s the time to find out – isn’t it?
Except sometimes discovering the truth can cost you everything you hold dear – your family, your sanity and even your life . . .
Unreliable narrators. Something we studied at school, something I realised I adore. I love not knowing whether to believe what I’m being told by the narrator; it makes a book far more thrilling. Fran/Frankie/Francesca is the perfect unreliable narrator. Excellent at compartmentalisation, she puts herself in little boxes too – Frankie, the insecure teenage girl from Oldcliffe On Sea; Fran, the busy, hard-working adult from London. I really enjoy this kind of characterisation, and feel that the characters are the best part of this book.
The narrative is interesting. I don’t usually like the use of diary entries as a form of story-telling, but it worked in Local Girl Missing. Fran also speaks to Sophie in her head, is convinced that she’s seeing her in their old hometown. The truth is that Fran is haunted – by Sophie, by their shared past, by her own insecurities and fear – and this comes through brilliantly.
The twist is unique, and one I didn’t see coming. I won’t spoil it for anyone, but I will say that this is an excellent thriller that you don’t want to miss out on.