All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Wow. Often I read a book and get pulled into the story then it ends weak. Because this book was so engaging, I made the assumption the ending wouldn't measure up. It pretty much did. So much so that I want to reread the book to see if it is consistent, although I'm sure editors did this. It is completely unexpected.
The book begins 2 weeks ago. Nicolette gets a call from her brother that their father is deteriorating and the money situation is getting dire. It's time to take guardianship of him and sell the house. Come from Philadelphia to North Carolina now. And she does.
Somewhere in that first day the reader knows that Nicolette's best friend disappeared 10 years ago in June, right after high school graduation. The case has never been solved. Nic arrives and makes contact with key characters; her brother, Daniel, her father, and her high school boyfriend, Tyler. She calls her fiancé in Philadelphia and lets him know she has arrived. A few scenes are set up in a way that might or might not be significant. Kind of slow and not terribly interesting but short.
The next scene is 2 weeks later. Things have vastly changed. A neighbor named Annaleise has disappeared and the case of Corinne has been stirred up. Clearly, answers in some areas have come in the last two weeks. It's an all out crisis and the reader doesn't know what happened but by then you're hooked. Then the story works backward one day at a time to the moment we left off two weeks ago. Only every day is told at the beginning of the day which may be midnight or might be noon. Regardless, each piece fits together and the picture comes into focus. Doubt and suspicion is cast on every character then withdrawn due to previous day events.
I can't believe the author pulled it off. I have one niggling question about the night at the fair between Nic and Daniel. Besides that, it was the best thriller I've read in a long time.