All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda
Simon & Schuster: 6/28/16
eBook review copy; 384 pages
All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda is a highly recommended novel of suspense told in reverse.
Nicolette "Nic" Farrell, 28, has to return to her hometown of Cooley
Ridge, North Carolina. Nic left right after graduation and has stayed
away, other than short visits to see her father. Now Daniel, Nic's
brother, has called to tell her they are going to have to sell their
family home and he needs her help getting it ready as well as trying to
persuade their father to sign the papers. Their father, Patrick, has
been in a long term care facility due to his dementia. Daniel's wife,
Laura, is 8 months pregnant, so he would like to get things settled as
soon as possible.
Nic leaves her fiance, Everett, in Philadelphia and heads to Cooley
Ridge. While Nic was planning to leave for college anyway 10 years ago,
what really sent her packing was
the mysterious disappearance of her best friend, Corrine.
She and her friends were questioned by the police at the time, including
Tucker, Nic's high school boyfriend, and her brother. Now Patrick is
starting to mutter to people at the facility that he saw the girl -
which everyone thinks must mean Corrine.
"Corinne was larger than life here. Had become even larger because she
disappeared. But she was just a kid, eighteen, and bursting out of her
skin. Believing the world would bend to her will. Must’ve torn her up
something good the first time she realized it wouldn’t." Tyler is dating
Annaleise Carter, 24, a neighbor of the Farrells. She was peripherally
involved in the investigation of Corrine's disappearance. Then she
disappears and people are searching for her.
The hook in the case of All the Missing Girls is telling the
story in a reverse chronology. We get a current day set up of the story
so we know why Nic's leaving and have the bare minimum of background.
Then the story jumps to 15 days in the future and counts down to day
one, after which we get to go back to real time and figure out who done
what. It does make the reading compulsory so you do read as fast as you
can to try to figure out what the heck happened. Miranda manages to do
this and not give away the big reveals until the end, which is laudable.
Lots of people loved All the Missing Girls. While I really liked
it and thought the reverse story telling was an interesting concept, it
didn't manage to hide some of the flaws for me. The characters aren't as
well developed as I would expect and there are places where the plot
isn't quite as tight as I would like. The big question is how much can
you overlook for a unique plot device? I discovered I could overlook
quite a bit because Miranda managed to surprise me with some major
information being disclosed later in the novel, while earlier chapter
are more reactionary based on that information that we don't have yet.
In the end, a worthy debut novel into the adult market. (However, I
would like to note that these are missing women, not girls.)
My advanced reading copy was courtesy
of the publisher for review