More Summer Popcorn: The Missing, Chris Mooney

Sunday, July 08, 2012

My summer of popcorn books continues with another thriller, The Missing, by Chris Mooney.  The book begins with three friends-Darby, Stacey, and Melanie-high-school age girls, sneaking off into the woods to smoke and drink.  They had barely gotten their party on when they witness what they think is a murder.  They call the police, but when they show up both the man and the body are gone.  Several days later, Darby is at home alone when she hears noises downstairs.  Suddenly, a man with no face is chasing her through her house.  She escapes, but Melanie and Stacey are not so lucky.

Fast forward 15 years, and Darby is now a criminalist in Boston.  A young woman is kidnapped, and Darby is assigned to process the crime scene.  As she and the police investigate, with the help of the same FBI agent who worked Darby's own case, Darby begins to sense that there is some connection between the new case and hers.  But how is that possible, when the perpetrator of her attack was killed by police over a decade before?  As Darby is forced to revisit her own nightmare, she and her team race against time to find the missing girl.

I was completely sucked in by Mooney's writing in this book.  The narrative structure goes back and forth between Darby's perspective and the killer's, a man named Daniel Boyle.  This puts the reader in the position of knowing things that Darby doesn't, leading to more than a few moments when I wished I could somehow communicate with a fictional character and save her some trouble.  Mooney did a pretty good job writing as a psychopath-the chapters from Boyle's perspective were pretty chilling.  I did figure out one major twist, but there was another one that took me completely by surprise.  It would have been more satisfying had the twist actually contributed more to the story, but it didn't take away from it, so at least it was an unoffensive plot point.    All in all a quick, enjoyable read.

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