The Missing is author Jane Casey's first novel; a mystery surrounding the disappearance of a young girl who is a student in the class of teacher, and main character, Sarah Finch. The body of this student is found by Sarah herself and the case takes her back to the unsolved disappearance of her older brother when she was a girl. These two events are related in parallel story-lines which inevitably come together at the end of the book.
Those who like to read thrillers will not be disappointed with the way that the story takes a number of twists and surprises. Beginning with a slow pace the story gradually builds and culminates in a grand ending that draws the reader into thinking that it was predictable but then provides an unexpected twist.
The characters in The Missing are well-written and are perhaps the biggest strength of this book. In a literary world where female heroes are always beautiful, super fit, ultra-intelligent and confident Sarah Finch is a breath of fresh air - uncommitted to her job, lacking in confidence and prone to making really poor decisions; a typically naive young person. An unprofessional but effective police officer, a withdrawn mother, a world-weary senior policeman and an unwanted admirer are all interesting and realistic characters that I can believe in. Such are the characters that some reviewers claim that there are holes in the plot when actually these events just demonstrate that these are realistic characters and not the cliched, perfectly aware characters that are so common in this genre.
Overall this is an excellent novel; well-told, interesting with good characters and the twists in the plot that one expects in a thriller.
I would highly recommend The Missing to those readers who enjoy thrillers and mysteries. This is the sort of book that one will read very quickly due to its page-turning nature.