Missing Person by Sarah Lotz

Posted On 3 September 2019

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MissingPersonMissing Person was my third book by Sarah Lotz and I can’t deny that it was a book that I couldn’t wait to pick up.  This is an author who can really break out the goosebumps with her creepy horror.  That being said, this is a slight step away from that style.  I would suggest if you’re picking this one up having read the previous books maybe just adjust your expectations a little.  This is a much more subtle form of horror, the type that leaves you thinking – it could just happen.

This is a story of, no surprise, missing people.  The sort of story that is scary simply by the fact that these are people who have gone off, moved somewhere else, away from family or friends, for whatever reason and have been murdered – but nobody is aware of their disappearance,  They’ve simply gone, lying abandoned somewhere whilst life ticks on without their presence and if their bodies are found it’s unlikely that they will be ever be identified.  Just another John or Jane Doe.

Strangely enough Shaun Ryan has lived his life believing his uncle Teddy died in a car accident until he finds out that this was not true.  Families and secrets – Shaun’s family, following one of those arguments that feels difficult to come back from, sent Teddy away.  He went to America to make a fresh start and everyone was led to believe he’d passed away.  So Shaun goes in search of clues, dreaming of maybe visiting his uncle and even thinking it could be the start of something new for himself.  He posts the only picture he has of his uncle and starts asking questions that lead in an unexpected direction.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, or back over the pond in the US, Christina Guzman runs a site called Missinglinc – this started as a hobby after her own mother went missing and she was desperate for information, any information, as to her whereabouts.  Her mom’s details are still posted on the site but to date no new information has been found.  The site however has gained support with new people joining in in the amaterur sleuthing and one of them has spotted Teddy’s picture and connected the dots to one of the cases on the Missinglinc forum.  Not good news for Shaun if this suspicion turns out to be correct, Teddy’s only just come back from the dead but it seems it was only a temporary respite.

Now, as the story goes along we meet a few more people, primarily Chris who runs the site and a couple of others who make active contributions. Ellie who has a bit of a history with Chris already and stopped taking part on the site when things went wrong, and a couple of other users – of most note – the murderer!  People are always claiming that the murderer returns to the scene of the crime but here he actively takes part in the chats about missing people to keep his finger on the pulse, see if he’s in any danger of being found out.

I love the way Sarah Lotz writes, she has a very appealing style and makes great characterisation and scene setting appear to be all too easy.  Add to that the epistolary format this is used quite a bit for parts of the story with text messages, newspaper articles and group chats – well, I make no mistake that this is a format that I really enjoy, sifting through the different bits and pieces to find out the underlying messages, and it’s used to excellent effect here.

The characters are what really make this story though, Shaun, Chris and Ellie are all given really good back stories and feel like every day, regular characters who make mistakes but keep on plugging away.  The inclusion of chapters from the murderer’s pov adds a sinister element to the story, particularly because you’re not 100% certain which online character he might be.

In terms of criticisms.  Well, this takes quite a while to lay the groundwork necessary, which isn’t to say it’s a slow read at all because it succeeded in hooking me in almost immediately, but it does take it’s time to get to know everybody – which, when all is said and done is something that I appreciate.  However, given the time that is taken in setting the scene and luring us into this spidery web of deceit the ending felt a little anti climatic and over all too soon.  The other thing that I would say, and this is more about personal taste than actual criticism, is that this doesn’t quite work as well for me as The White Road.  It’s a good read, it’s compelling, gripping in some parts and it certainly succeeds as a lifelike mystery story – but it didn’t give me the heebie jeebies or have that slight supernatural element that I was hoping for – which again is my bad really because I made my own assumptions going into the read.

However, if you want to read a compelling, character driven mystery that does kind of make you view the internet with a bit of trepidation and is a story that feels very ‘real’ then I would recommend this.  It’s not quite the horror that I was expecting but nonetheless it’s a very good read.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  the above is my own opinion.

Rating 3.5 of 5 stars



August : My Month in Covers

Hi everyone, hope you’ve all had a lovely August with lots of sunshine and socialising.  I’ve had a good month in terms of reading.  I’ve been a bit more focused and although I do have a few reviews yet to schedule I’m kind of on track so all good.  Plus I’ve provided my feedback on the second month of SPFBO books and chosen two books to read fully one already reviewed here and another review to follow tomorrow).  My next batch of books will be highlighted on Monday.  So, here is my month in covers:

WeeklyWrap Up : 18th August 2019

My week has been very positive.  Lots of keeping in touch with everyone and actually a very good reading week too.  I have a few reviews lined up although it actually never looks or feels as though I’m really catching up.  Two steps forward, three steps back.  LOL.  But, I’m not stressed – I’ve got so many good books coming up on my schedule that I’m positively delirious with joy.  So, this is what I’ve been reading this week (as well as making some progress with my SPFBO books):

My books:

  1. Storm Cursed by Patricia Briggs
  2. Turning Darkness Into Light by Marie Brennan
  3. Missing Person by Sarah Lotz

Next scheduled reads:

  1. The House of Sacrifice by Anna Smith Spark
  2. Brightfall Jaime Lee Moyer
  3. The Dragon Republic by RF Kuang

Upcoming reviews

  1. King of the Road by RS Belcher
  2. Queenslayer by Sebastien DeCastell
  3. A Little Hatred by Joe Abercrombie
  4. Cry Havoc by Mike Morris
  5. Storm Cursed by Patricia Briggs
  6. Turning Darkness Into Light by Marie Brennan
  7. Missing Person by Sarah Lotz

I’d love to know what you’re reading this week.

Can’t Wait Wednesday : Missing Person by Sarah Lotz

Can't Wait Wednesday

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is : Missing Person by Sarah Lotz.  I so enjoy Sarah Lotz books so I’m super excited to have spotted this one.

Reclusive Irish bookseller Shaun Ryan has always believed that his older brother, Teddy, died in a car accident. It’s only on his mother’s deathbed that he learns the truth: Teddy, who was gay, fled the Catholic, deeply conservative County Wicklow for New York decades earlier. Shaun finds no sign of him in New York or anywhere else–until he comes across the unsolved murder of a John Doe whose description matches Teddy’s.

Desperate for information, Shaun tracks down Chris Guzman, a woman who runs a website dedicated to matching missing persons cases with unidentified bodies. Through Chris’s site, a group of online cold case fanatics connect Teddy with the notorious “Boy in the Dress” murder, believed to be one of many committed by a serial killer targeting gay men.

But who are these cold case fanatics, and how do they know so much about a case that left the police and the FBI stumped? With investigators, amateurs, and one sadistic killer on a collision course, Missing Person is Sarah Lotz at her most thrilling and terrifying.