Monday, June 26, 2023

Have You Seen Her

Have You Seen Her by Catherine McKenzie
6/27/23; 336 pages
Atria Books

Have You Seen Her by Catherine McKenzie is a highly recommended slow burning thriller set in Yosemite National Park.

Cassie Peters is escaping her husband and returning to a job she previously held ten years earlier when she lived in her hometown of Mammoth Lakes, California. She has it all planned. After dumping her phone and purchasing a burner phone, she heads off to her summer job working with Yosemite Search and Rescue. A case that occurred 10 years ago was the impetus for her leaving and this case still haunts her.

Also in the area is Petal, a young woman living in a trailer with Sandy, her much older partner. She writes in a journal daily observations about life around her. Also in the park are social media influencers and recent college graduates, Jada and her boyfriend Jim, who are documenting their trip to Yosemite on Instagram. Then, when a crisis occurs and hikers go missing, tensions run high and all hands are needed in the search and rescue team.

The narrative is slow to build but sets perfectly into place the final twist. Chapters alternate between noted "now" and "then" chapters, as well as journal entries and Instagram posts. Readers who enjoy novels from several unique points of view expressed in different ways will appreciate the format of Have You Seen Her. Some readers will need to take extra care to follow the layout of the novel, but most should easily follow the setup.

Clearly, the tension builds as you know something awful is going to happen right from the start of the novel. Character development is slowly established and similarities between characters are established. The women in the novel are fully established personalities that resemble real people. Although there are several surprises in store for readers that involve the character's personalities.

Those who love twists, a narrative told in a differing structure, and strong female leads will appreciate and hopefully enjoy Have You Seen Her for a great summer read.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Atria Books via NetGalley.

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