The Missing Place

October 27, 2014 Fiction, Review, Thriller, Women's Fiction 10 ★★★★★

The Missing PlaceTitle: The Missing Place
Author: Sophie Littlefield
Source: NetGalley
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads

Summary: The plot and characters in this book felt fresh and new. I loved the raw emotions and difficult moral questions the author brought vividly to life.

“Twenty-year-old Taylor Jarvis and Paul Carroll go missing in Weir, North Dakota, where they have been working on rigs owned by Oasis Energy. The mothers of the two boys come to Weir to find out what happened to their sons and form an uneasy alliance. Shay Jarvis, a 41-year-old single [mother], has more grit than resources; for wealthy suburban housewife Colleen Carroll, the opposite is true. Overtaxed by worry, exhaustion, and fear, they question each other’s methods and motivations – but there is no one else to help, and they must learn to work together if they are to have any chance of breaking through the barriers put up by their sons’ employer, the indifference of an overtaxed police department, and a town of strangers with their own secrets against [the] backdrop of a modern day gold rush.” (slightly modified from here)

When I ended up finding The Silent Sister a disappointment, I was a bit worried that domestic thrillers like this didn’t have much more to offer me. I was therefore extra excited to have The Missing Place come along and prove me completely wrong. Although this book definitely fits into that genre and shares a fast-paced tension with other books I’ve read, the characters and the plot felt very fresh to me. The main characters were both sometimes selfish or mean in pursuit of their sons, but their love for their sons keeps them both very relatable. The author made feel invested in all of the characters whose perspectives she shared. I wanted things to work out well for everyone, even when their needs conflicted with one another, and I loved how challenging that made moral judgements in this story.

The complicated relationships between characters were another novel part of this story. Shay and Colleen, for example, sometimes have the same goals and sometimes their goals conflict. Sometimes they support each other and sometimes they tear each other apart. It also becomes clear as we learn more that Colleen’s relationship with her son wasn’t as simple as she would like it to be. Through their words and actions, Colleen and Shay both make it clear how much they love their sons. I was very impressed by how viscerally the author made me feel their pain and despair when their sons are missing. The raw emotions portrayed in this book were another thing I loved. If you’re looking for something fresh and different, edgy and emotional, I suggest moving The Missing Place to the top of your to-read pile.

Do you ever worry that a genre doesn’t have much new to offer? Do you try to get your enthusiasm for that genre back or do you move on to something else?

10 Responses to “The Missing Place”

    • DoingDewey

      I’m not sure it’s even really a genre, but I’m not happy with women’s fiction as a general label for several varied types of fiction. A lot of books categorized that way are really books that have the suspense of a thriller, but are focused on family relationships and this is one of those 🙂

  1. Naomi

    I wonder that the most when I’m thinking about dystopian novels. How many different ways can we imagine a new world? Partly it makes me cautious about reading this genre, but partly it makes me curious to read and find out. I am picky, though, about which books I pick up. Recently, I read Station Eleven, and I would definitely recommend it!

    • DoingDewey

      Dystopians are definitely a genre I can get burnt out on. I’ve heard great things about Station Eleven though and am planning on moving it to the top of my to-read pile this month.

  2. Monika @ Lovely Bookshelf

    Domestic thrillers are definitely a genre that I feel the same way about… so glad to hear this one felt fresh and worked for you! I agree with Naomi that dystopian novels feel like they’ve gotten into a rut lately, too.

    • DoingDewey

      It’s so fun to find something that feels really new! I’ve also found dystopians a bit predictable, so I’m hoping to check out Station Eleven and see if I agree with all the great reviews I’ve been reading.

  3. Aylee

    It’s good to hear this one was a win for you after being let down by a similar novel. I get tired of genres now and then. The best thing to do for me is to take a break, read something completely different, and then return to it when the time feels right.

    • DoingDewey

      That’s usually what I try to do too! Sometimes, like in this case, I have a review copy I feel like I need to get to, so I was excited I ended up enjoying this even though it wasn’t the genre I was most in the mood for.

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