Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica | Publisher: Harlequin; Park Row | Genre: Thriller | Find it on: Goodreads | Publishing: 18 May 2021
Hot Take: A missing person thriller with a heartbreaking twist that’s about our relationships and how far they can bend before they break.
Dahlia returns home after being missing for eleven years. Her father is beside himself with relief to have his daughter back home. But as Dahlia’s brother, Leo, investigates his no-longer-missing sister he realizes she may not be who she says she is. And if she’s not, that means the mystery of who took Dahlia is still left unanswered. And with it the mystery of why their mother killed herself eleven years ago…the same day Dahlia disappeared.
Local Woman Missing is a multi-perspective thriller with two running stories. The first is the present day story of Dahlia, reunited with her family after eleven years of being held captive. The second is the story of the events leading up to that day eleven years ago.
As a thriller goes, Kubica has brought in all the characters we’ve come to expect from a suburban thriller. There’s the picture perfect stay-at-home-mom. The post-partum mom cheating on her (also) cheating husband with a man who makes her feel like a woman and not a mother. The cheating (possibly) abusive husband. The earnest husband who just wants to make everything better. The wife keeping secrets and breaking her otherwise “perfect” marriage.
It’s not exactly a unique blend of characters.
However, unlike lesser thrillers, Kubica brings the setting to life by the very fact of its mundanity. It could be your street, your house, your daughter. These people aren’t extraordinary. None of them are particularly bad or good. But tragedy finds them anyway.
As Kubica weaves the past and present narratives together the story becomes more and more heartbreaking as each character simultaneously experiences and grieves their own, personal tragedies starting, we uncover, with one–simple–bad decision.
As you read Local Woman Missing, you’ll being to wonder what really goes on on your street, what your own neighbors are capable of, and what you’d be willing to do if your family were at stake.
Read it? Adding it to your TBR? Disagree? Let’s talk in the comments!
*Thanks to Netgalley and Harlequin for the review copy!*