“What is it with this island anyway? Missing children. Now a murder.”
Published: August 27, 2019
Publisher: Kensington Publishing
Pages: 359 (Hardcover)
Series: Hester Thursby Mystery #2
Hester Thursby has given up using her research skills to trace people who don’t want to be found. A traumatic case a few months ago unearthed a string of violent crimes, and left Hester riddled with self-doubt and guilt. Caring for a four-year-old is responsibility enough in a world filled with terrors Hester never could have imagined before.
Finisterre Island, off the coast of Maine, is ruggedly beautiful and remote—the kind of place tourists love to visit, though rarely for long. But not everyone who comes to the island is welcome. A dilapidated Victorian house has become home to a group of squatters and junkies, and strangers have a habit of bringing trouble with them. A young boy disappeared during the summer, and though he was found safely, the incident stirred suspicion among locals. Now another child is missing. Summoned to the island by a cryptic text, Hester discovers a community cleaning up from a devastating storm—and uncovers a murder.
Soon Hester begins to connect the crime and the missing children. And as she untangles the secrets at the center of the small community, she finds grudges and loyalties that run deep, poised to converge with a force that will once again shake her convictions about the very nature of right and wrong . . .
Trigger Warning: drug use, child neglect
Wow. That’s all I can really say about this book.
Just kidding, I can always say a lot about a book! Especially one as good as this one!
First and foremost I need to issue a huge thanks to my friends at Kensington Publishing for this book! I read and reviewed Edwin Hill’s first novel, Little Comfort, last Summer and was so kindly provided his follow-up novel when I asked. Kensington always sends me such wonderful books, but this may have been my favorite!
The Missing Ones is a top notch mystery that left me bewildered up until the end, and I absolutely could not put it down. I remember I started it in the afternoon and easily read 60 pages before I realized it was dark outside and I needed to eat. It was instantly addictive and such a twisty, dark mystery. I adored it.
The book starts off introducing some local folks on Finisterre Island, a quaint seaside town that is going through some problems. Immediately there’s a missing child and you’re thrust into this high stress mystery. Meanwhile, Hester is struggling with the aftermath of the murder and kidnapping from the first book and you can really see how much she’s struggling with herself and her position as Kate’s “mother”, so to speak. What unfolds next is a big mix of murder, mystery, drug deals, personal revelations, and just an absolutely enthralling story.
This was a pretty dark story and I did include some trigger warnings because it dealt with some darker themes like child abuse/neglect, so just be aware that there are some triggering concepts of this book, but they’re necessary. I really appreciate the realism that Hill applies to his novels. As a newly minted social worker and someone who’s family history includes drug abuse, I was able to understand and appreciate those themes in this book and the way they’re used not simply as a plot enhancer, but a major aspect. This was a plot that didn’t feel far fetched but was still just out of my reach in terms of what I was expecting, and it was so wickedly fun to unravel.
I won’t be able to go into too much detail in this review because that would spoil the book, but hot damn there are some real plot twists that were expertly executed. I can’t even begin to explain how much this book pulled me along, I could have read 1,000 more pages here and loved it. Hill is such an eloquent and skilled writer, you’d never be able to tell this is only his sophomore novel. It’s actually incredible how atmospheric this novel is, how much depth goes into each and every one of his characters, and the twisted web he weaves in terms of crime/plot. It’s masterful, honestly.
I can’t say enough good things about this novel. From start to finish I was completely enthralled. Edwin Hill is such a great storyteller and I can’t wait read whatever else he puts out because he’s got some serious magical skills when it comes to mystery and atmosphere.
Thanks again, Kensington!
P.S. Morgan is my new book boyfriend. I realize this is not a romance, but what a dreamboat.
The Hester Thursby Mystery Series