Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Missing

The Missing, by Jane Casey

I discovered this book by reading a review of one of British author Jane Casey's other novels, The Burning. Because I like to read authors (especially mystery authors) in chronological order, I sought out her first book. It needn't have mattered in this case, as it does not have the same protagonist.

Unfortunately, this book did not live up to my expectations. I found it to be very readable, but much of what happened seemed unrealistic and unlikely to happen. I also guessed who the murderer is long before it was revealed, which I rarely do. (I'm one of those rare mystery readers who does not try to guess the perpetrator, but in this case it could not be ignored.)

As the protagonist, Sarah Finch is not entirely likeable and a bit too overcome with problems. She is a lost soul, lacking anyone she can confide in or trust, and in the end things just spiral downward in her life. Soon she is left with no one. She also makes some bizarre choices, and a few plot elements seem unlikely (such as the policeman on the case falling in love with her, and the highly convenient coincidences that keep occurring, to name a few). Life seems to just happen to her, and because of this she is not very sympathethic. For example, after she truly hates school and appears to have no motivation to succeed because of what happened to her brother, she somehow becomes a teacher herself, and does not seem to enjoy her job.

I also found it unlikely that a character who is completely obsessed with her would attack her and harm her outside of her home. And why on earth did she stick with her mother when she treated her so horribly? Of course, Casey ties it all up with a happy ending, also implausible.

I have The Burning checked out of the library, and I will give Casey one more try...I'm hoping her second novel is an improvement over the first.

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