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While you Wait for Just Another Missing Person

Twisty puzzles

Earlier this year I read Wrong Place, Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister and immediately recommended it to several friends who enjoyed it as much as I did. I'm glad to say that McAllister's newest novel, Just Another Missing Person, was just as good. If you like page turners with flawed characters and twisty puzzles, you'll want to check this one out.

I felt pulled into the story immediately and it kept me guessing until the end. Both books feature parents who are protecting their children while also struggling to do the right thing. Is it right to always to be on your child's side, or to always model following the rules of the legal system?

A detective with a secret

In Just Another Missing Person Detective Julia Day is called in to the station for a missing person case. At first it seems like so many other sad cases she's seen — a pretty young woman walks home alone and never arrives. Julia soon realizes this is not the usual case. CCTV shows the young woman walking into a closed off alley on the night she disappeared and never shows her coming back out.

There are strange echoes of familiarity with the case that Julia can't put her finger on. Before she can dig deeper, a masked man  tells her he knows her darkest family secret. He gives her the name of a person to convict for the murder of the missing young woman. If she refuses, he will reveal her secret. How far would will she go to protect her secret and her family?

Just Another Missing Person will keep you turning the pages as you put the pieces of the puzzle together. The story will also get you thinking about parental love, guilt, obligation, and the hazy line between right and wrong. Check out these other stories that explore driven but flawed detectives, conflicting loyalties, missing persons and family love.

Still Life by Louise Penny (#1 in a series)

Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache mysteries are some of the best I've ever read for combining a page-turning puzzle with a thoughtful reflection on ethics, moral gray area and government corruption. In Still Life Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his colleagues from the Surete du Quebec travel to a small village in the Eastern Townships called Three Pines to solve a murder. It's just the start of a thoughtful series with a cast of quirky, memorable characters.

Over the course of the series, Gamache and his team solve many crimes, and a longer-term corruption case involving missing women builds up in story after story. I binged a lot of the series and then slowed down because I didn't want it to end too soon. The series is available as digital audiobooks with no holds on Hoopla. 

Sadie by Courtney Summers

What would you do if your sister was murdered and the police didn't bring her killer to justice? Nineteen-year-old Sadie has been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated Colorado town. She's trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water. Then police find Mattie dead at only 13 years old. The police botch the investigation, but Sadie is determined to bring her sister's killer to justice. She hits the road searching for the man she suspects of the crime.

Meanwhile, radio personality West McCray is working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America. When he hears Sadie's story, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie's journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it's too late. As the story alternates between Sadie's perspective and the voice of the true crime podcast in search of her, the stakes get higher and higher. You won't be able to put this one down.

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

Jewell is a master of twisty reads that keep you guessing. Then She Was Gone is the story of a family member’s disappearance and the emotional impact on those left to search and grieve. It’s every parent’s worst nightmare to imagine their child disappearing without a trace. Ellie, 15 years old, is a stellar student and a good girl. She leaves to study at the library and doesn’t return home. Her family is devastated, but her mom, Laurel, never gives up hope that Ellie will come home and she never stops searching. Ten years after the disappearance Laurel meets a man who makes her think love and happiness might be possible again. Then Laurel meets his daughter, Poppy. Somehow, the girl looks just like Ellie did at that age. Check it out on audio with no waiting on Hoopla. 


Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden

If you need justice served on the Rosebud Indian Reservation, you call Virgil Wounded Horse. He is an expert at handling other people's problems. When his own nephew becomes embroiled in the reservation's drug problem, Virgil will stop at nothing to find the drug dealers and make sure they get what they deserve. This debut novel not only explores issues of family and crime, but also heritage and what it means to be Native American in the modern world. Available as an ebook and digital audiobook with no holds on Hoopla.

Wrong Place, Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister

This one was so good! You definitely want to check out this page-turner from the same author as Just Another Missing Person. This is an astonishing, compulsively twisty psychological thriller about a mother who witnesses her teenage son stab a man and then seizes on an unconventional way to try to save him. Can she stop a murder after it's already happened?

It's late October after midnight. You're waiting up for your 17-year-old son. He's late. As you watch from the window, he emerges, and you realize he isn't alone: he's walking toward a man and he's armed. You can't believe it when you see him do it: your funny, happy teenage son kills a stranger right there on the street outside your house. Who was this man? Why did this happen? You only know your son is now in custody. His future is shattered. That night you fall asleep in despair.

You think all is lost. Until you wake and it is yesterday. And then you wake again and it is the day before yesterday. Every morning you wake up a day earlier, another day before the murder. With another chance to stop it. Somewhere in the past lies an answer – the trigger for this crime and you must find it. Available as an ebook and digital audiobook with no holds on Hoopla.

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