The Night She Went Missing by Kristen Bird
2/8/22; 352 pages
The Night She Went Missing by Kristen Bird is a recommended novel of domestic suspense.
Emily Callahan was missing for months when she is found unconscious
by the water. She is hospitalized, stable, but discovered to be pregnant
and still unconscious, although she is mentally aware of her situation.
The Callahan family name represents the prominent social class on the
Island of Galveston, Texas, and Rosalyn Callahan, Emily's grandmother,
is the grande dame. Emily’s family recently moved to Galveston for her
senior year of high school after her mother, Catherine, was involved in a
scandal. Catherine meets other mothers, Leslie, Rosalyn's right hand
woman, and Morgan, mother to Alex who becomes Emily's best friend. When
Emily went missing, Alex was a suspect, but then who was leaving
threatening notes in Emily's locker? Could it be Anna, Leslie's
The narrative starts with Emily being found and we are privy to her
inner thoughts, so we know she is going to be alright when she later
disappears. Then the point-of-view alternates between the voice of
Catherine, Leslie, Morgan, and Emily. Everyone is keeping secrets while
holding resentment and suspicion toward others. Really, you wouldn't
want to know any of these women. Emily, however, is depicted as almost
too perfect to be a realistic eighteen-year-old.
While the plot starts out relatively strong, it soon descends into a brouhaha of privileged women/mothers behaving badly and doing what ever they can to protect their reputations and that of their children. In many ways this well tread path is what will keep you reading while trying to find out what happened to Emily. The final adventures of all these women on the way to the conclusion is a bit ridiculous and unbelievable. The enjoyment in this novel is found in viewing it as a bad movie as you keep track of all the players, and sometimes that is entertaining enough. Yet again, however, I would like to caution writers to keep their personal political/social views about current events to themselves as it dates and cheapens the novel.