The old Victorian pier was once a thing of beauty. It's also where twenty-one-year-old Sophie Collier vanished eighteen years ago.
Francesca has spent the last twenty years haunted by the disappearance of her best friend. But when she receives a phone call from Sophie's brother saying that a body has been found, she knows she can't keep hiding from what happened. With her own secrets to keep, Francesca doesn't relish the idea of digging up the past or returning to Oldcliffe. But it is time to go back to where she grew up, and it looks like she isn't the only one there hiding truths.
I bought "Local Girl Missing" in Tesco for £2 when you purchased a daily newspaper and I have to say it was an excellent deal! I'd heard a lot about this book from online book clubs and was really looking forward to reading it. It's atmospheric, dark and at times spooky and perfect for a lazy Sunday read or a sunny afternoon in the garden. The story is told in the first person alternating between two best friends Francesca in the present time and the missing girl Sophie back in 1997 relating both of their accounts surrounding the mysterious disappearance of Sophie. I did unfortunately work out most of the plot by half way through but this didn't stop me from enjoying the book and following the outcome. I was actually quite tearful at the end as I had endeared to Sophie and had a lot of empathy for her. I wasn't taken with any of the other characters but I don't think it mattered it certainly didn't stop me from enjoying the story any the less. It's well written, easy to follow and although a slow burner keeps you turning the pages until the ending when everything finally comes together. I haven't read anything by the author Claire Douglas before but I'd be happy to read more by her in the future and will probably read her previous debut novel 'The Sisters' sometime too. 4 stars.
Local Girl Missing by Claire Douglas is a 2017 Harper publication.
Eerie and tense-
Sophie and Frankie were best friends during their teenage years, until romantic entanglements came between them, but they eventually reconciled, and were trying to resume their friendship, but, one night, Sophie disappeared from the old Victorian, 'Oldcliffe-on-the-Sea', pier. Her body was never recovered…. Until now.
When Frankie gets the call from Sophie’s brother, Daniel, that his sister's remains have been found, he asks Frankie to come home and help him find out what happened to her all those years ago.
But, once Frankie arrives, settling into the often frigid apartment overlooking the same pier from which Sophie vanished, she begins to imagine she sees Sophie’s ghost. As she and Daniel begin to dig into the past, Frankie finds herself the recipient of chilling notes, often pushed under her apartment door, taunting and threatening her.
Old friends and enemies all contribute a piece of the puzzle, and as revelations mount, motives become highly suspect.
I never knew who to believe or trust in this novel. The story shifts gear several times before the conclusion. That and the dual time line kept me off guard, so that I was never able to find a balance.
I have waited nearly a week to write this review, because I’m still trying to formulate my thoughts on this book.
On one hand the atmosphere is very creepy, with a possible supernatural element, and the uneasiness settled in for the duration, increasing as the story developed.
On the other hand, I had a hard time with the final twist, finding it a little far fetched, even though I did appreciate the irony of the situation.
The only other downside was just a coincidence. I’d just finished reading a book with a similar set up, so I considered putting this one aside for a while because of that, but then the story veered away from that theme and took on a whole new set of connotations, so I decided to stick with it.
Although there were a few small blips, at the end of the day, the book provided a few good chills, was cleverly paced, with plenty of atmosphere and twists, and a surprise ending. So, after thinking it over, and waffling back and forth, a little, I think this one deserves four stars.
one fine evening (today) I was sitting and admiring my bookshelf when my eyes fell on this book and I couldn't remember a single thing about it!!!!!!!
I opened my GR account and saw my notes on this book filled with cuss words and hatred for this book, so as I am already in mood of writing "HONEST" reviews today ! Here we go again :- Why I bought this book? --> I fell in love with the cover of this book the moment I saw it in bookstore , I read the blurb and I bought it ( PS:- NEVER JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER ) what I like about it? •setting I am a sucker for small town mystery thrillers and this book was atmospheric,dark and at times spooky with creepy and supernatural elements . •easy to follow The book was definitely a page turner and easy to follow with easy ( sometimes disaster) writing . Good for someone hoping to e enjoy a lazy afternoon! why I hated it ? • cliche dialogues and poor writing only at times I felt like the book was written in creative writing style and conversation felt pretty naive. • poor character development •lots of plot points didn't add up like • obvious twist with absurd storyline and disastrous ending the book started good but by the end it became a drag for me with most obvious plot twist and wtf was that ending!!??
I totally didn't enjoyed it at all. When I an reading a mystery thriller I want it to grab my full attention and this one here failed to do so!
About: Local Girl Missing is a psychological thriller written by Claire Douglas. It will be published on 7/4/17 by Harper Paperbacks, an imprint of Harper Collins, 352 pages. The genres are fiction, psychological thriller, suspense, and mystery.
My Experience: I started reading Local Girl Missing on 5/30/17 and finished it on 6/5/17. This book is the best mystery I have read so far! I love everything about it. This book is so good that often I could not tear my eyes away. The story is very fascinating and it captures my attention completely. I love the ending and I couldn’t guess the outcome. I love the organization of this novel and how the mystery unravels little by little.
In this book, readers will follow alternating point of views between Francesca (Frankie) Howe and Sophie (Soph) Collier, best friends for the longest time. They both live in Oldcliffe-on-Sea, a small town near Bristol. Frankie, an only child, came from a well-to-do family where her parents own a hotel in town. Sophie lives with her mom and older brother. They ran away from an ugly past. Frankie has beauty, money, and attention. Sophie likes to curl up in bed with her novels. As Frankie and Sophie’s friendship blooms, they tend to fall for the same guy. There was a mystery surrounding a guy named Jason. Then almost two decades later, parts of Sophie’s remains has surfaced and Sophie’s older brother Daniel invited Frankie back to town to solve the mystery of Sophie’s death. This novel is told in alternating point of views with Frankie in the present day and Sophie in the past leading up to her gone missing. Sophie is communicating to readers through her diary entries.
This thriller is beautifully written. I love the alternating point of views because it doesn’t leave me in the dark as to what is going on. I don’t fully know the details until the big reveal at the end, but I know enough to want to read more. I like how so many people can be a suspects and I love that I couldn’t guess who it was. All the characters are great players in this book. There is a lot going on and I enjoyed following the characters throughout and connecting the dots. I love a book with an epilogue and this book has it. I highly recommend everyone to read this book!
Pro: suspense, alternating POV, mystery, adrenaline rush, couldn’t put down, page turner, fast paced, well-written, family, epilogue
I rate it 5 stars!
***Disclaimer: Many thanks to the author Claire Douglas, publisher Harper, and Edelweiss for the opportunity to read and review. Please assure that my opinions are honest.
Francesca Howe is a wealthy businesswoman when we first meet her. She lives in a nice house, in London, and helps run her parents hotel business. She is also in a rather dead end relationship and so, when the past intrudes on the present, she is convinced to return to Oldcliffe-on-Sea, the small seaside town where she grew up.
Francesca (or ‘Frankie’ as she was known as a teenager) receives a call from Daniel, the brother of her childhood friend, Sophie. In 1997, Sophie went missing – all that was found was one of her trainers, left on the old pier where Frankie and her friends often went to spend time. Now, a body has been found which is believed to be Sophie’s, and Daniel asks Frankie to return home and help him find out what really happened all those years ago. Was Sophie’s disappearance a tragic accident, or was it murder?
I really struggled with this novel. It should have been just the type of crime story I enjoy, but I found the writing style difficult. We wade through so many clichés and metaphors that it reads like a creative writing exercise at times, rather than a novel by an experienced author. As Frankie returns to Oldcliffe, it soon becomes apparent that there is a secret that Frankie and Sophie shared. Threatening notes are put through the door of the apartment where she is staying and she feels as though she is under threat.
This is a novel of secrets, of the past catching up with you, and of characters who do not turn out to be what you expect. Somehow, though, it just fell very flat for me. I cannot say that I either connected with any of the characters, or had any belief in the plot by the end of the novel. I have not read the previous novel by this author, but I know it was a huge success. If you enjoyed her first book, then you may well enjoy this, but I must be honest and say it did not work for me.
Borderline 3 star really. Good premise for a story but simply unconvincing to me.
In full - I like the idea of this story. A local girl goes missing, apparently falling off the local (& closed) old pier and friends and family from the time go their own ways. Then 18 years later the girl's brother phones the girl's best to say that part of a body has been found wearing a trainer that was the same as the one she had on when last seen. The book is written in two voices in fairly simple language. Frankie, the best friend, is the voice of now and she returns to the old home town in the westcountry ostensibly to help the brother search for evidence relating to the disappearance. Sophie, the girl who disappeared, is the voice in the past and this is written in part in diary form. My initial reaction was that the writing ok though I wasn't really gripped by the story. It was obviously one of those books where secrets from the past would be gradually revealed. It is quite apparent early on in the book that both Frankie and Sophie knew & did things at the time which were "secrets" and that Frankie probably does not want the "truth" to come out.
I think the basic idea for this story was a perfectly good one and the pace kept me reading. However I simply did not find any of the characters particularly believable, real or engaging. Equally I did find some of the things that occurred more than a little incredible at times. I do see that others will find this book more appealing but for me it felt rather lightweight and lacking the real tension and edginess I would like from something that should be a thriller.
Note - I received an advance digital copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair review
The Sisters was one of my favourite books of last year and I admit I couldn't wait to see what Claire Douglas would follow it with and if it would be just as good.I needn't have worried Local Girl Missing is absolutely brilliant,very gripping,worth far more than five stars and I am very disappointed that I have finished reading it.
Frankie and Sophie have been best friends since primary school when Sophie moved to Frankie`s school after Sophie,her Mum and Sophie`s brother Daniel moved to Frankie`s home town of Oldcliffe On Sea to get away from Sophie`s violent father.One night twenty one year old Sophie vanishes leaving behind her trainer on the old delapitated pier.Now twenty years later Frankie gets a call from Daniel who says that a body has been found,reluctantly Frankie returns to their home town to help Daniel try to find out what happened to his sister.Soon after she starts receiving threatening letters,someone knows what happened on the pier that night and doesn't want the truth to be revealed.
The story is told in alternating chapters between present day Frankie and the past where Sophie is telling what happened in the months leading up to her disappearance.I liked and felt a lot of sympathy for Sophie and her brother Daniel but from the very beginning of the story I didn't like Frankie,it's hard to explain why without giving too much away.There is a mixed bag of other characters that Frankie and Sophie interacted with throughout the book,one who is so nasty and sleazy I hated every moment he appeared in the story.All the people in Oldcliffe have their secrets and you never know who is telling the truth and who Frankie and Daniel can trust.
It's a gripping,twisty story from the first word to the last,I didn't want the book to end,now I have to patiently wait and see what Claire Douglas comes up with for book 3.
Many thanks to Penguin UK Michael Joseph for an ARC of this book via netgalley
Apparently I am in the minority here in thinking this book is dreadful! The writing was clunky and ridden with clichés, the characters were unlikeable and the 'twist' at the end was so obvious I was surprised and disappointed that it wasn't a red herring.
Just a taste of the prose that had me raising my eyebrows:
"The hot guy who was with Frankie last week is called Leon McNamara. He's half Irish, like me, but with chocolate-brown hair and the most amazing blue eyes I've ever seen. They are the exact same colour as my indigo Levi 501s."
"...the sleet like cold lips kissing my face"
"Does he really need my help to uncover the truth about your disappearance after all this time? Or does he want me here because I remind him of all that we had? And all that we lost."
I also felt there were lots of plot points which didn't add up. Why would Frankie remember someone posting her the dog tags if she sent them to herself? Why did Mia know a crying baby would be an effective scare tactic if she didn't know about the miscarriages? Did remains actually wash up on the beach? Why would the police just accept the absolutely mental and improbable story offered by Daniel et al and there be no consequences for faking a death?
Ah this book is ridiculous! I half read, half skimmed through it in one setting and feel I left some of my brain behind with it.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Local Girl Missing is the second novel from author Claire Douglas whose first, The Sisters, received the Marie Claire Debut Novel Award in 2013. Despite the unprepossessing title which does nothing to whet the appetite, I was interested by the premise of a woman returning to her home town to confront the demons after her best friend went missing eighteen-years-ago. The discovery of twenty-one-year old Sophie Collier's trainer quickly caused the public to lose interest in her disappearance, only to be replaced by a popular belief that a drunken Sophie was swept away by the Bristol Channel. Eighteen-years-later a somewhat reinvented Francesca Howe is contacted out of the blue by Sophie's older brother, Daniel, and she knows that this can only be for one reason. Human remains have been found, Daniel is due to identify them and he reveals something that was never spoken of before... that Sophie was jittery, anxious and told him that somebody was out to get her ahead of her last days. Having never told Frankie (as she was known as a teen), Daniel says the police dismissed his claims but he wants to discover and confront the truth surrounding his sisters demise.
Coming at a time of emotional upheaval, unwilling to terminate a floundering relationship and trying to ignore her dad's stroke and ailing recovery, Frankie reluctantly revisits the down at heel town of Oldcliffe-on-Sea. The premise itself though doesn't make clear that Frankie and Sophie both had secrets of their own and the best friends are forever bound by one dramatic event in their lives... When Daniel moots his opinion that Sophie could have been intentionally pushed and killed that night, it falls to Frankie to choose whether to enlighten him or not as to the long held secret. Soon confronted by a series of threatening notes on her return to Oldcliffe-on-Sea, it seems that someone else knows this hidden secret and it holds the key to revealing just what did happen to Sophie Rose Collier. Readers learn of the actual events at approximately a quarter of the way through this novel, but attempts to disguise it are thinly veiled from the start. Frankie is left with little choice but to confide in Daniel as it becomes a matter of delicately seeing who knows the sworn secret and might therefore have had reason to murder Sophie. However, what quickly becomes clear is that Frankie can ill afford to trust anyone, even Daniel, after a series of unsettling incidents compound her fears.
Nearly two decades on from Sophie's presumed death, Fran Howe seems to live a charmed life with a three-storey Islington townhouse, a Range Rover and running the family hotel chain business with her parents semi-retired. Still as insecure as her teenage days she runs her life to precision and is the buttoned-up stiff-upper-lip woman who has tried to leave her past behind. Involved in an relationship with builder, Mike, that she knows is on the slide, with a divorce and failure to conceive along the way, neither the friends or lovers in her past have ever be told of Sophie, the best friend of her childhood days. Tightly wound Fran is all about making the right impression, and whilst she attests that Mike doesn't really have the emotional capacity to cope with her issues, I must say that I think much of that is due to her unwillingness to reveal her true nature. Fran is the character that I found most baffling, as she is at times clearly an unreliable narrator, simply choosing not to be open about things, at other times making blatantly contradictory decisions meaning everything seems like a subtle game of emotional blackmail and manipulation. I felt none the wiser of Frankie's true feelings for any of the male characters in Local Girl Missing as she seemed to change her mind as to who was her 'one true love' like the wind, but really simply seems to crave attention. Trawling back through the lives and loves of two girls with dreams of escaping their home town, Douglas serves up a tale of a bitchy female friendship. I think in modern day parlance the term du jour is 'frenemy' and most of the revelations revolve around the "who snogged who" variety of a YA novel.
A central focus for Local Girl Missing considers the class differences and the social divide that separated the comfortable and upwardly mobile Howe family from the rest of the cast. Clearly the subject of some enmity amongst her peers, the inherent differences and prevailing cultures of the working class estate dwelling teens are well observed and the grudges that are exhibited in twenty-one-year old Sophie's diary seem no less engrained in the town some eighteen-years later. The diary extracts from Sophie at the time of her 1997 disappearance were more believable than the delivery by Frankie, giving an insight into the home life and the sparky personality for which she was known. Frankie was a little bland and even at highly wrought emotional moments she never really demonstrated any passionate or charged dialogue.
Whilst this was an undemanding read and I never had a problem staying with the story, it never really exerted the 'grip' that is so essential with a psychological thriller and left me feeling fairly flat. Aimed at the lightweight end of the psychological thriller market I thought much more could have been made of the small town atmosphere because it never really felt sufficiently ominous or creepy to me. In saying that, I didn't trust a single character in Local Girl Missing which shows that it did achieve some of the unsettling suspense that Douglas intended, with credible suspicion jumping between characters. A mediocre novel which left a so-so impression on me, with a better ear for dialogue and more focus on creating characters whose motives are credible, Local Girl Missing could have been drastically improved. Admittedly, some of the twists were well disguised and a genuine surprise, but I felt that pretty early on I knew where this was headed and was proved correct. In conclusion, not a bad read by any means, Local Girl Missing easily holds the attention and got off to a promising start but the final twists detracted from my overall impression. As is so often the case, the necessity to go that extra mile and blow the whole thing out of the water undermines the solid work of Douglas up to that point.
Another book I read last year and didn't find the time to review. I'd like to say that if it had wowed me I would have sat down to immediately write a review, but the half-written reviews for most of the books that did wow me are still waiting for me to finish.
It appears that it is easier and quicker to write reviews for books that were just meh. I remember the plot - I just don't remember why it took eighteen years to get the ball rolling.
I did not like the MC, nor did I like or connect to most of the other characters. The ending surprised me, so there is that.
This was the second Claire Douglas I read last year. The Couple at No. 9 was much better. I will definitely be looking for more (and hopefully better) from this author.
I read The Sisters by Claire Douglas last year and while I enjoyed it I hadn't found much to rave about in it....unlike Local Girl Missing which I have just this moment finished and thought it was stunning!
Told in two timeframes, we first meet Francesca when she has a phone call to say that her best friend, who went missing 18 years ago, has been round-up body has been washed ashore. She is devastated and goes back home to be with Sophie's brother Daniel while they await an official identification. Then we swing back in time 18 years to Sophie, who has arrived back home after studying at uni and is back working and socialising with best friend Frankie. Back in the present, we know from the start that Frankie is hiding a secret that she shared with Sophie but someone else seems ready to taunt Frankie with it now she's back home. But as we get to uncover some uncomfortable home truths in both stories, will Sophie's killer be brought to justice?
I just loved the seaside town setting here. Having lived in one myself, I know that cold and empty feeling they have out of season, when all the tourists have gone home and half the town shops close until next summer. Claire Douglas takes this and adds in a whole load of suspects who would want to hurt Sophie and a narrator with a few psychological problems of her own, to send our brains spinning into overdrive trying to work out what happened all those years ago. I found I didn't want to get too attached to any of the characters as I really didn't know who to trust! I found it very easy to visualise the area and the people that Claire was writing about and for that reason I think it would make a brilliant tv drama, it's just the sort of plot that keeps you gripped and on the edge of your seat so I think it would translate well to the small screen.
I've read a lot of books with similar themes recently but this one definitely stood out for me. I think that it benefits from the "Broadchurch" effect as that's what it reminded me of. Not the story but because the setting of a small seaside holiday town, out of season and full of interesting characters with secrets to keep, really turns this into a first rate dark and atmospheric psychological suspense. Highly recommended.
I received a copy of this book via netgalley in return for an unbiased review.
I did not connect with this book at all. It was super slow to start, and I kept getting confused as to who was narrating. I'm not a huge fan of first person narration, especially when it is a diary entry with full dialogue.
Semi-spoiler alert... . . . . . . . I'm all for an unreliable narrator, but it really, really doesn't work well with first person. It feels shady on the author's part. I can't say I was at all surprised with the ultimate resolution, but I felt like I was just slogging through mud to get there. I did like that there was a wrap up from the other POV, to get the picture of what had happened in the years preceding Frankie and Daniel's investigation. It is just such a chore to get to the end. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley, all opinions are my own.
I can't work out if I love the ending or hate it. I really enjoyed reading this book, it was twisty and unpredictable and had me on tenterhooks the whole time. Yet the ending was unexpected but felt a little implausible? Plus the explanation needs you to suspend disbelief.... Yet I still really liked reading this and thoroughly enjoyed the writing style. Can't wait for the next novel from Claire!
Frankie and Sophie were best friends from early childhood.
Sophie Collier came to Oldcliffe-On-Sea with her mother and brother when they ran away from Sophie's abusive father. Francesca (Frankie) Howe lived with her affluent mother and father in the seaside hotel that they ran. Frankie had never had a close relationship with her mother and preferred the company and attention of her dad, Alistair Howe. The beautiful, entitled, and popular Frankie took the less popular and plain Sophie under her wing and the girls were best friends throughout their childhood and adolescence.
Sophie spent a lot of time at Frankie's parents pink hotel and came to be fond of Frankie's Dad. Fatherless, she craved a male role model in her life and Frankie's Dad was always kind to her, letting her borrow books from him etc. When they are sixteen, both girls develop a crush on the same handsome local boy, Jason.
Frankie and Sophie hold a dark secret about a devastating event that happened when they were just sixteen.
When she was just twenty-one years old, in early September of 1997 Sophie died after she fell from the town's decrepit Victorian pier - taking her secret with her...
"Can you convince yourself to believe your own lies?"
Eighteen years have passed since that fateful September and Frankie runs her family's successful hotel business, now located in London. She has put her life back in Oldcliffe-On-Sea behind her and proceeded with her life - until she gets a phone call from Sophie's brother, Daniel. They have found some human remains and are going to test them to see if it is Sophie. Daniel wants Frankie to accompany him when he goes to identify the remains and to help him discover what really happened to his beloved sister. Against her better judgement, Frankie agrees - partly because her current relationship is not working and she craves a little space to think.
"Maybe you can never really escape your past."
Her return to the seaside town brings about a series of events and meetings with people from her youth. Also, her youthful attraction to Sophie's brother Daniel seems to have blossomed into an even more powerful emotion. Then... disturbing notes are delivered to where Frankie is staying:
Has someone discovered the secret from Frankie and Sophie's past?
Then, Frankie begins to see Sophie. Is she imagining things now?
"This place isn't good for me. Too many memories, too many ghosts."
Written via two narratives alternating in perspective between Frankie's present and Sophie's past, this psychological thriller kept me riveted throughout. This is a novel of the often complicated dynamic of female friendships and the destructive nature of lies bred by secrecy. Recommended to all who enjoy a thriller with strong characterization and who don't object to an unreliable narrator.
Another fabulous psychological thriller from Claire Douglas. The descriptions of places are so well described you feel like you are in that very place. Frankie and Sophie were best friends growing up. They were really close joined at the hip. Frankie moved away to London to escape the memories. Sophie went missing nearly nineteen years ago. Now her remains have been recovered, Sophie's brother invites Frankie to come back to Oldcliffe-on-Sea to help Daniel find out who killed his sister on the old pier. Everyone is holding a secret. There many twist that I really enjoyed and didn't see coming. I read sisters by Claire Douglas and enjoyed that too. But Local Girl Missing had me turning the pages fast to see what will happen next. I do highly recommend this book.
A gripping page-turner about revenge, secrets and love. Narrated by Sophie who died 18 years previously and Frankie the best friend who has returned to find out what really happened to Sophie, this is full of twists and turns and red herrings. Kept me guessing throughout.
In Local Girl Missing, you can read about how Francesca returns to Oldcliffe-on-Sea after learning through a conversation with a childhood friend that a body has been found washed up at the pier where her best friend Sophie disappeared eighteen years ago. Parallelly in the book do we also learn what happened to Sophie through her diary notes. Both the present-day story and childhood notes are interesting to follow.
The best psychological thrillers are those that confuse, make one doubt what is going on and distrust the main character and all other characters of course. They are hopefully also page-turners, preferably with short chapters that turn" just one more chapter" into a binge reading marathon with the book done around midnight or later.
Local Girl Missing has all these elements. Perhaps not so many surprising twists, but the book definitely has the paranoid feeling that makes you think something is wrong thanks to all the things that happen to Francesca. If it's something I like it's when you start to question the main character, is she really so innocent, is she mad or is someone really out to get her? And, what really happened to Sophie Coller eighteen years earlier?
Claire Douglas has written an excellent psychological thriller, it only took me one day to finish it thanks to the interesting and addictive story and I look forward to reading her other books.
I like books that explore small-town secrets and for most of this book I was on-board with where it was going: then it takes a downward turn and ends with one of the most ludicrous 'twists' ever, one that had me giggling out loud at the ridiculousness of it.
Douglas conjures up the atmosphere of a slightly seedy seaside town well, and there are some unexpected twists that took me pleasantly by surprise. But, gosh, that ending! No spoilers, of course, but we do have to suspend a massive amount of disbelief to swallow this... So a good start and middle but the ending lost stars from me for pure unbelievability.
I've just finished reading this book and all I can say is WOW!! It's just brilliant!!
"I've been running from my past. Now the past has caught up with me."
Francesca (Frankie) Bloom is a successful businesswoman working in the hotel industry in London. One day she receives a call that drags her right back to the very past she tried so hard to forget. She's informed that after eighteen years missing, her best friend Sophie's body was recovered from the sea by the seaside town of Oldcliffe-On-Sea, where they used to live as youngsters.
With tears in her eyes and memories flooding her mind, Frankie rushes to Oldcliffe to help Daniel, Sophie's brother, identify her best friend's remains and to find the answers to the questions that have haunted her ever since that tragic night when Sophie went missing, leaving behind a shell-shocked town and just a lonely trainer perched on the old derelict pier.
"I knew her. And she wasn't herself before she died... Something was wrong."
What had happened to Sophie? Who or what had lured her to the old pier that night? Frankie and Daniel are determined to find out but it's soon apparent that someone is not happy with their enquiries. Someone wants to stop them and scare Frankie away. And the locals seem to know more than they are letting on. But why? Will they ever find out what really happened to Sophie? Was it just an unfortunate accident? Suicide? ... Or murder? And what secret did Sophie and Frankie share? What had they done?
I was simply captivated by this book. The writing is very mature and the plot is creative, ingenious and very atmospheric with great vivid descriptions. I could visualise the seafront at Oldcliffe with its cafes and hotels, the tourists on the promenade enjoying the views. I could almost feel the rush of sea water as waves crashed on the seawalls. And I could clearly imagine the old mysterious pier shrouded by fog and battered by wind, rain and the waves.
Chapters alternate between Frankie's and Sophie's povs. Frankie's chapters are set in the present when she returns to Oldcliffe. She's riddled by grief and guilt and finds herself frequently 'talking' to Sophie in her head. Sophie's chapters are from 1997 as she is 'writing' in her diary about her life and relationships.
If there ever was one book that keeps you guessing till the end... This is it! I was immediately suspicious of one character, but then as the story progressed I realised that there were indeed MANY potential suspects. All characters seem shifty and to be hiding something. By the end I was totally and completely taken by surprise by the turn of events. I was NEVER expecting that finale...ever and I think it's very clever and original!
I really had a great time reading this book and I highly recommend it. Well done Claire Douglas, you're a very talented lady!
With huge thanks to Penguin UK, Michael Joseph for approving my request to read and review this book through Netgalley.
Francesca und Sophie wachsen zusammen auf und werden beste Freundinnen. Sie teilen alle Geheimnisse und werden langsam erwachsen. Doch dann eines Tages verschwindet Sophie spurlos. Am alten Pier bleibt nur ein Turnschuh von ihr zurück. Hat Sophie sich das Leben genommen? Eine Leiche wird nie entdeckt, und auch sonst gibt es keine Spuren oder Hinweise auf Sophies Verbleib. Achtzehn Jahre später wird dann doch eine Leiche angespült... Ist es Sophie? Francesca kehrt von London in ihre alte Heimat zurück, um endlich Antworten zu finden. Was ist damals wirklich geschehen?
Die Geschichte wird aus zwei verschiedenen Blickwinkeln erzählt. Einmal erfahren wir alles aus Francescas heutiger Sicht, was mir sehr gut gefallen hat. So lernen wir sie sehr gut kennen - einschließlich ihrer Gedanken und Gefühle. Abwechselnd gibt es aber dann auch die Tagebucheinträge von Sophie vor über achtzehn Jahren, so dass wir Leser genau erfahren, was damals geschehen ist. Diese Erzählweise hat mir sehr gut gefallen, denn so baut sich die ganze Geschichte Stück für Stück auf. Wir erfahren parallel, was heute und was damals geschehen ist und wie sich nun langsam alles miteinander verknüpft.
Die Atmosphäre des Buches ist dabei sehr düster und sehr geheimnisvoll und irgendwie bedrückend. Ich habe das Buch am liebsten im hellen Sonnenschein gelesen, sonst hätte es mich vielleicht sogar gegruselt.
Die Auflösung hat mich überrascht; dieses Ende habe ich nicht kommen sehen. Dennoch konnte mich die Auflösung überzeugen; es passte alles zusammen. Genau so sollte ein Thriller sein!
Claire Douglas first caught my attention last year, when I read her debut novel The Sisters, as part of my book club’s theme on ‘twins’. Douglas has done it again with her gripping new release, a psychological mystery titled Local Girl Missing.
Local Girl Missing is a story split in two distinct time frames. Twenty years ago, Sophie Collier, a young woman of twenty one, with her whole life ahead of her, vanishes after leaving a local club. The only indication of her final whereabouts is a single sports shoe, believed to be Sophie’s, caught on a derelict seaside pier. It tears many close to Sophie apart, from her lover Leon, to devoted brother Daniel, to Frankie, Sophie’s best friend. Twenty years later, old wounds surface when human remains believed to be Sophie’s, emerge near the waters of the seaside town of Oldcliffe. Frankie, now a successful businesswoman in London, vowed never to return to Oldcliffe. A call from Daniel, Sophie’s brother, changes Frankie’s feelings and she returns to Oldcliffe on a mission to piece together the truth as to what really happened to Sophie.
Local Girl Missing is a book that has an immediate impact on the reader from the very beginning, delivering both a chilling and intriguing opening scene. I soon settled into this book and was subsequently taken on a thrilling ride throughout the novel. Local Girl Missing is best described as an unsettling, unpredictable and unputdownable read. This could be down to the style of narrative structure. Douglas cleverly divides her narrative between present day, with Frankie conversing with her friend, the missing Sophie. She then splits the other half of the narrative and devotes it to Sophie’s story from the past in 1997. Although I enjoyed both narratives, which alternate and drip feed information relating to Sophie’s fate, I really connected to Sophie’s 1997 story thread. I feel this is due to the setting that Douglas works hard to create for her readers. Being of similar age to Sophie and Frankie in 1997, I could easily relate to their lives and also living near a similar seaside town myself, I could put myself directly into their shoes. The highlight of this book has definitely got to be the setting. I could easily picture the derelict pier of Oldcliffe and imagine the treacherous sea in which Sophie disappears. Douglas also excels at depicting her setting in Oldcliffe in the present day, her location setting descriptions are highly atmospheric. There were also many instances while reading Local Girl Missing where I got clear chills down my spine. As well as the setting, Douglas also displays strength in her creation of a whole host of characters. Each character is carefully formed and they all present themselves as somehow connected to Sophie’s fate or as potential suspects. To me, this is always a sign of a good thriller novel. I had no idea who was involved in Sophie’s final moments and if they were at all, I questioned if it was just a terrible accident or suicide. Douglas saves the best for last, blowing any of my theories out of the water, delivering a thrilling climax. It was definitely worth the wait to get the epilogue.
Local Girl Missing, Claire Douglas’ second offering, is a heart racing read. It is a novel that successfully intertwines friendship, secrecy, lies and jealously in a complex tale for readers to unravel. This is one fans of the thriller/psychological mystery genre will be sure to enjoy. *4.5 stars This review also appears on my blog: https://mrsbbookreviews.wordpress.com...
This book is a prime example of why you should never judge a book by its cover. I fell instantly in love with the cover but the book was a let down. Sophie went missing from her home in 1997 and the investigation at the time ruled 'death by misadventure' after her shoe was found at the end of the local derelict pier. Some twenty years later, a body part is washed up and it is believed to be the foot of Sophie, found in the identical shoe. Her brother, Daniel, contacts Frankie to ask her to come back to the town to uncover the mystery surrounding Sophie's death as he has always believed she was murdered. The story unfolds through the diary events of Sophie and through the eyes of Frankie, a now almost 40-year-old woman. Sinister events are taking place now that Frankie is back in town and she fears for her life. The language used and the actions of the main character, Frankie, gave me the impression that she was actually a teenager, not a middle-aged woman. At times it became very annoying, as one minute she was claiming to be head-over-heels in love with Daniel, then the next she didn't trust him at all. I just couldn't connect with her, as most of the time I was getting frustrated at her childishness, which was completely out of character since she is also supposed to be a high-flying career woman. This worked during the 'flashbacks' to her adolescence, but really didn't in the here and now. The twist was highly unbelievable and didn't shock me at all because I felt that the first three-quarters of the book were building up to a climatic ending as the story unfolded as to what really happened in 1997, but then the twist was like a completely alternative story which was unexpected and was almost laughable because it didn't fit in properly with what had happened to date. Extremely disappointing! This book was sent to me by NetGalley for an honest opinion.
In Local Girl Missing troviamo la storia di Francesca e Sophie. Erano migliori amiche da ragazze, poi Sophie è misteriosamente scomparsa senza lasciare nessuna traccia, apparte la sua scarpa sul pontile. Che cosa è successo a Soph? I capitoli sono alternati, Frankie al presente, ormai una donna adulta e matura che torna nella cittadina natale dopo una chiamata di Daniel, il fratello di Sophie, che le dice che hanno ritrovato dei resti e che potrebbero essere suoi - e quelli del diario di Sophie negl'anni in cui erano ventenni e in cui sono successe tante cose orribili.
Non mi aspettavo nulla di ciò che è successo, ho immaginato tanti possibili colpevoli e poi mi sono ritrovata a bocca asciutta perchè ripeto, niente è come sembra. Odierete Frankie e la sua famiglia, una famiglia davvero degenerata, che ottiene sempre ciò che vuole, a cui non si può dire di no, ma fortunatamente ci sarà l'inferno anche per loro. Ho adorato Sophie, Daniel e Leon, e sono stati davvero ingeniosi, poi capirete meglio leggendo perchè la storia è talmente strutturata bene che non voglio farvi spoiler. Per concludere con la ciliegina sulla torta, la scrittura della Douglas è scorrevolissima che si legge in un batter d'occhio. Consigliatissimo!
School best friends Sophie and Francesca (Frankie) managed to catch up again for the summer after they graduated, almost twenty years ago. Over that intense summer they each went through emotional turmoil. Just before they both left for jobs in London, Sophie fell to her death from the remains of their seedy hometown's derelict pier. Now Frankie, a successful businesswoman, is called back to Oldcliffe-on-Sea by Sophie's brother. Human remains have been washed up nearby and he wants Frankie to help him identify them. He has never believed his sister's death was an accident.
I enjoyed this book immensely. It's told in the present by Frankie and in the past through Sophie's diary. The two are well distinguished in style, Frankie being dramatic, filled with simile, tending towards paranoia while Sophie's diary is more youthfully breathless though often dark in content. What I particularly loved was the clever way the author gradually altered my perception of the world they'd both inhabited twenty years ago. An excellent and unusual story.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an advance review copy of this book.
Told from alternating perspectives of best friends Sophie and Frankie, this is an interesting quasi-thriller documenting Sophie's disappearance in nineties Somerset. Some of the writing comes across dated and immature, particularly in Sophie's chapters, but perhaps that was the authors intention?
I enjoyed the authors debut more than this - I found that mid way this story became a little repetitive and drawn out. The climax comes very late in the book and the ending is abrupt. Having said that, it's an easy enough read and there are pieces where the author demonstrates definite promise as a thriller writer - although this book leans more towards a drama.
I had multiple guesses about the twist eluded to on the cover but didn't see the ending coming! Overall, a satisfying enough read.