I received Local Girl Missing in exchange for an honest review
This was my first Claire Douglas read, and it definitely won’t be my last – in fact, I already have her hit debut, The Sisters on my Kindle ready to go! This was exactly the type of psychological thriller I love; thoroughly entertaining with a page-turning plot, authentic characters and plenty of dark secrets from the past coming back to haunt.
Twenty years earlier, Sophie went missing aged 21 after leaving a nightclub. Her best friend, Frankie, has since moved away and moved on with her life as a successful hotel proprietor, but she’s dragged back to her past when she receives a call from Sophie’s brother informing her that a body has been discovered. She returns to her hometown to help Sophie’s brother, Daniel, identify the body and find answers.
I initially hesitated in requesting this book because I’ve seen so many missing girl stories of late. In some ways Local Girl Missing follows the usual formula; a missing girl and someone hunting for answers, an alternating narrative between past and present. And yet I was hooked throughout.
The narrative is split between Frankie and Sophie. Weaving between past and present, we follow Frankie as she opens the Pandora’s box of her past, revisiting old boyfriends and school friends in an attempt to glean information. Sophie’s story is told through diary entries where she talks frankly about her friendships, her boyfriend, and the events which lead up to her disappearance. Piece by piece, the two narratives come together to reveal a twist which I never saw coming.
Whilst it has its fair share of creepy moments, at it’s heart Local Girl Missing is a very human story. It’s about the fragility of teenage friendships, the intensity of first loves and the sometimes claustrophobia nature of living in a small town, where everyone knows everybody else’s business. The town itself is wonderfully drawn, Douglas brings to life a typical British coastal town, from summers spent on the beach to the sense of quiet abandonment after the holiday season ends. But where this book really comes to life is the characters, and the mind-bending twist which I never saw coming. A great read for anyone who loves a good thriller, I’d highly recommend this book.