An ordinary outing takes Greta, Alex, and four-year-old Smilla across Sweden’s mythical Lake Malice to a tiny, isolated island. While father and daughter tramp into the trees, Greta stays behind in the boat, lulled into a reverie by the misty, moody lake…only later to discover that the two haven’t returned. Her frantic search proves futile. They’ve disappeared without a trace.
Greta struggles to understand their eerie vanishing. She desperately needs to call Alex, to be reassured that Smilla is safe, or contact the police. But now her cell phone is missing too. Back at her cottage, she finds it hidden away under the bedsheets. Had she done that? Or had someone else been in the cottage? But who, and why?
As Greta struggles to put the pieces together, she fears that her past has come back to torment her, or she’s finally lost her grip on reality…
The Missing is one of those books that seems to have been written just for me with the mysterious disappearance of a father and daughter and the woman who loves them desperately trying to figure out what has happened to them, at the same time as holding onto her sanity. Because she has secrets, lots of them it turns out, which mean going to the police or calling anyone else for help doesn’t feel like an option.
It starts innocently enough, a trip across the lake to an island that locals call Malice because legend has it people disappear from it never to be seen again. Just like Alex and Smilla. Greta, though, isn’t from the area. She doesn’t take it seriously. Until she wakes up from a nap and knows instantly that they aren’t there. Days of frantic searching lead to nothing but a run in with a gang of youths who are more than a little threatening and who seem to think Greta has stolen from them.
Left on her own in a remote cabin, Greta starts to see things in the water, in reflections in mirrors and windows, and in the eyes of the few people she comes across. She loses track of time and what is real and what isn’t. The past, the things she has lived through, the secrets she has kept, all seem to come flooding in. As they do, tensions build and Greta’s behaviour becomes more and more erratic.
Along the way, I found I had great sympathy for Greta, though I didn’t necessarily warm to her. She has had a hard life and one that seemed almost destined for her to end up where and how she was. There was just something missing for me. I wanted to feel more strongly about her. Instead, I felt like an outsider looking in. It meant that, even though the book was well written and well translated with lots of twists and turns I found myself easily distracted from it. For me, it wasn’t a page-turner. Though I didn’t dislike it, I just wasn’t connected. A shame but this one is a like not a love review.
Publisher: Amazon Crossing
Publication Date: 1st January, 2017
Format: eBook (Kindle)