by Adam J. Shardlow
Published by Libros International, 2009.
When Nick Stuart wakes up, following a drunken night out, to find his girlfriend missing things seem bad but when he realises that none of his friends and family, even her work colleagues, can remember her, it becomes clear she has vanished without trace and his world descends into a nightmare. Nick is not alone though, other people experience the same loss and confusion. At the same time a local serial killer is being pursued by the police and the trail leads back to Nick.
Adam J. Shardlow has created a tight and tense thriller in The Missing, which will keep you guessing right to the very end. It’s an excellent psychological horror thriller which would make an excellent movie. The protagonists sense of confusion, loss and helplessness are well portrayed and the reader sees things from a unique perspective. We can empathise with both sides as the quest to reveal the truth is gradually developed.
If the book has a problem it is in the occasional spell of overwriting. We are sometimes fed long drawn out descriptions or explanations of things which have little relevance and consequently only really succeed in slowing the pace. That’s a fairly minor criticism however a more major one could be that the plot relies on a conceit of M. Knight Shyamalan proportions to work. Some may see this as a cop out, to be honest I didn’t mind but then I am a Shyamalan fan, you will need to make your own mind up.
There’s little traditional horror to speak of here but plenty of psychological torture and a fair bit of violence to keep things gritty and nasty. I enjoyed The Missing, I thought it was clever, well written and the tension was maintained right to the end.
Rating 3.5 out of 5