Out of the blue, Francesca Howe receives a phone call. It’s the call she has dreaded for so long: the body of her best friend, Sophie Collier, has been found. Last seen nearly twenty years previously, the only clue was a trainer that had been left behind on an old pier. Convinced that someone knows more than they are saying, Sophie’s brother, Daniel, summons Francesca (or ‘Frankie’ as she was known when she was younger) back to the seaside town where it all happened to assist with his enquiries. Soon, though, as ghosts from the past emerge, she wishes she had stayed away. Someone out there knows something, but will it be at the expense of another life?

Having one of the main characters die in the first chapter is certainly one way of drawing you into the book! From the outset, it is obvious that there is much more to the story than a simple ‘whodunnit’ and the further Frankie and Daniel probe, even more secrets from the past threaten to rise to the surface. Just who is sending Frankie threatening notes and what secret are they referring to?

The story is told from the point of view of the two main protagonists. With Frankie, of couse, we explore the investigation being undertaken by herself and Daniel and also find out about her life at the time Sophie went missing. Sophie’s story is told in a series of diary entries which contain clues (and red herrings) about what exactly happened to her. The character of Sophie is that of a tragic young woman who has gone through so much in her short life whereas Frankie is the girl who appears to have it all. Appearances can be deceiving, however, and it is definitely a case of no one really knows what goes on behind closed doors.

The book contains numerous twists and turns and the ending was not one I saw coming. There was one aspect of the plot that I had figured out but even that wasn’t fully! I had one issue with the ending but, thankfully, the epilogue contained at the end explained my concern.

In Local Girl Missing, Claire Douglas has succeeded in creating an edge of your seat thriller with a satisfying ending. Well, I say  ‘satisfying’, there still could be another incident waiting to be played out…

With thanks to Net Galley and Penguin UK – Michael Joseph for the copy of the book.

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