Local Girl Missing
By Claire Douglas
Twenty years ago. Twenty-one-year-old Sophie Collier vanishes one night. She leaves nothing behind but a trainer on the old pier - and a hole in the heart of her best friend Francesca.
Now. A body's been found. And Francesca's drawn back to the seaside town she's tried to forget. Perhaps the truth of what happened to Sophie will finally come out.
Yet Francesca is beginning to wish she hadn't returned. Everywhere she turns are ghosts from her past. The same old faces and familiar haunts of her youth. But if someone knows what really happened to Sophie that night then now's the time to find out - isn't it? Except sometimes discovering the truth can cost you everything you hold dear - your family, your sanity and even your life . . .
21 year old Sophie Collier goes missing after a night out with her best friend Francesca. Twenty years later Fran receives a call from Sophie’s brother to tell her a body has been found and begging her to help him discover what happened that night. Frankie returns to the sleepy seaside town but soon discovers that in doing so she could have put herself in danger.
The blurb describes this book as a
Tense, psychological thriller ripped straight from the headlines. Even the title of the book reads like a newspaper headline. The opening line of the book drew me in straight away,
It’s a dreary afternoon, just after lunch, when I finally found out that you’re dead.
The author conjures up vivid images of Frankie’s hometown,
our hometown in Somerset where seagulls squeak at dawn, waves crash against the pier and the smell of fish and chips permeates the air.
I liked the way the author wrote Francesca’s point of view as if she was talking to Sophie and telling her everything that was happening. It made it easier to identify with Francesca and also drew me in to the story quicker because it seemed more personal.
At times whilst I was reading my eyes welled up particularly when Frankie is describing Sophie.
When everyone apart from us forgot about you, Sophie Rose Collier, the sometimes shy, often funny, twenty-one-year old girl from Oldcliffe-On-Sea, who disappeared from a club late one night, the girl who cried at the old BT adverts, who fancied Jarvis Cocker, who couldn’t open a packet of biscuits without scoffing them all.
This description was emotive because it seemed like something a best friend would say.
During the course of the novel we learn that the police and many of the locals believe that Sophie had just had a few too many and simply fallen off the old pier whilst she was drunk. Daniel and Frankie set out to prove them wrong and what follows is one of the best psychological thrillers I have read.
Daniel said she was afraid of someone before she died but he hadn’t taken much notice until it was too late. Frankie is unsure because surely she would have told her if she was scared.
The date is etched in my memory, Saturday 6th September 1997. I was on the other side of the dance floor chatting to the DJ but then when I looked back through the fug of smoke that constantly hung in the air; you had disappeared, vanished into the throng. You hadn’t looked scared, or particularly worried. If there had been a problem you would have confided in me. Wouldn’t you?
I enjoyed the way the reader gets to see both Frankie’s perspective and Sophie’s perspective of events through the chapters written on their point of view. I think it added a depth to both characters because it showed what each character was really like and not just their opinion of themselves.
In Frankie’s chapters she comes across as a loyal friend, a little bit selfish at times and confident. In Sophie’s chapters she comes across as a little insecure, selfish and a bit conceited. In both chapters the friendship is vividly described to the reader and made me question how I would feel if it was my best friend who had died.
I found Sophie’s brother, Daniel, a likeable and interesting character. It came across clearly how much he cared about his sister and accurately portrayed what a large impact the disappearance of a loved one can have. I found the dynamics of the relationship between Frankie and Daniel intriguing.
The language used throughout is designed to heighten the readers sense of suspense, even the weather adds to the atmosphere with fog and rain that
slashes against the glass like a maniac with a knife.
I loved all the twists and turns within the story and I can genuinely say I didn’t see most of them coming, This was a brilliant book that I will definitely read and reread as much as possible.
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