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by Edwin Hill
Kensington, August 2019
368 pages
ISBN: 1496719336

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Months after the traumatic events that ended LITTLE COMFORT, Hester Thursby has given up searching for missing people. She has also given up going to work at Harvard's Widener Library and taking her four-year-old niece Kate to daycare. Hester is unable to let Kate out of her sight, she can't make even simple decisions, and she's lying daily to her not-husband Morgan.

Realizing that Hester needs help, Morgan and her friends stage an intervention. It doesn't go well, and in the middle of the night, with her world falling apart, Hester gets a text from Daphne, Hester's best friend and Kate's mother, asking for help. In spite of —or perhaps because of—the turmoil in her own life, Hester packs Kate up and leaves for Finisterre Island, Maine, where, as soon as she and Kate get off the ferry, Hester finds herself embroiled in a murder, drug trafficking, and missing four-year-olds. As she struggles to find Daphne and face her own fears, Hester uncovers layers of secrets the small island community would rather keep hidden, and by the end of the novel, Hester, Daphne, and a young boy named Ethan are fighting for their lives, both literally and figuratively.

In THE MISSING ONES, as in LITTLE COMFORT, Edwin Hill creates an increasingly tense plot filled with interconnected mysteries and suspenseful occurrences where characters the reader cares about are in real danger. But what draws the reader in and ratchets up the tension further is Hill's exploration of human psychology as he puts characters in situations that push them to their breaking points and then reveals the aftermath. Everyone has secrets. Everyone is insecure about something. And no one is exactly who they present to the world or even to themselves. And all of that makes the characters richly formed and believable and enhances the intrigue of the puzzles. THE MISSING ONES is a quick read with plenty of page-turning action, but it is also disturbing, and the outcome, while satisfyingly tying up all loose ends and having characters make decisions believable because they are in keeping with what's gone before, is lingeringly unsettling. It also promises more Hester Thursby to look forward to.

§ Meredith Frazier, a writer with a background in English literature, lives in Dallas, Texas

Reviewed by Meredith Frazier, August 2019

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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