Pub. Date: April 18, 2017
Source: finished hardcover via publisher (Thank you, Crown Books for Young Readers!)
Summary: The only thing Winter Crane likes about Reeve’s End is that soon she’ll leave it. Like her best friend did. Like her sister did. Like most of the teens born in town have done. There’s nothing for them there but abandoned mines and empty futures. They’re better off taking a chance elsewhere.
The only thing Winter will miss is the woods. Her only refuge. At least it was. Until the day she found Lennon left for dead, bleeding in a tree.
But now Lennon is gone too. And he has Winter questioning what she once thought was true. What if nobody left at all? What if they’re all missing?
Genre: YA, Thriller
When you pick up a Kelley Armstrong novel you know you’re in for a good time. A gruesome and gory time, perhaps, but entertaining all the same! Missing arrived at my door one day and – no lie – I tossed aside the book I was in the middle of in order to start this one. That is how fantastic Kelley is.
To say Reeve’s End is the wrong side of the tracks would be an understatement (not to mention downright insulting to towns that actually are). Reeve’s End is a go-nowhere pit complete with a grimy payphone. Winter Crane has been counting down the days until graduation, counting down the days until she can leave her trailer park, never set eyes on her father again, walk out of town and wash her hands clean of it forever. Her sister got out, her best friend got out. What’s stopping Winter?
The only saving grace is the woods and her makeshift cabin where she can be alone and completely block out the rest of the world. In the woods it’s just Winter and her hunting gear. Oh, and the feral band of dogs, but hey, you can’t win them all.
It’s while she’s in the woods one day that Winter comes across something she shouldn’t. A boy – definitely not from Reeve’s End (his shoes alone cost more than the town’s average income) – left for dead in a tree. Making a split-second decision, Winter brings him back to her cabin where she learns her troubles have only just begun. It’s not long before Lennon disappears, leaving Winter with one startling question: what if the kids who left, those lucky souls who got out of Reeve’s End didn’t leave? What if they’re missing?
Yeah, I tore through this one, make no mistake about it. Kelley Armstrong is such a master at what she does that I felt as though I was there, right there in Reeve’s End. I felt bugs crawl over me at Winter’s living conditions. I felt I would die of embarrassment right along with Winter as she invited a boy into her home – a boy who, keep in mind, probably has a bathroom the size of her entire trailer. I could picture Reeve’s End with its lone doctor’s office and the fields upon fields that make up the town. But it wasn’t just Kelley’s descriptions of the town that drew me in, it was the story itself.
Once I got going, I truly could not put the book down and ended up reading Missing in a single sitting (you know a book has you captive when dinner consists of a bowl of cereal and a pb&j sandwich – whatever is quick and easy to scarf down!) Though I had my guesses at to what was going on and who played on which side, the ride to the end was half the fun and I was more than happy to see it through.
There is only one thing that will make me openly post spoilers and that’s when a dog dies. Prepare yourself. There’s a brutal scene involving those feral dogs and the book’s villain and it actually made me pause. Give me a torn apart, mangled, intestines-scattering-in-a-ten-foot-radius, dead body, and I won’t bat an eye. A scene involving the death of a dog however (even when it happens offscreen, like it does here)…I’m a total goner. It was all too easy picturing my own pup hurt and scared. Any other dogmamas out there, proceed with caution.
Despite that hard-to-stomach scene, I totally devoured Missing. Kelley Armstrong is at the top of her game here. The setting was great, the characters were intriguing, the mystery was gripping. There was even a super swoony moment that had me all heart-eyes! Whether you’re an long-time reader of Kelley’s novels or a newcomer looking for a fun and engaging read, look no further: Missing is the book for you. Though it doesn’t have her typical paranormal flair, I am all about this new mystery angle and am SO excited to see what she does next!