From the bestselling author of All Is Not Forgotten comes a thriller about two missing sisters, a twisted family, and what happens when one girl comes back…
One night three years ago, the Tanner sisters disappeared: fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma. Three years later, Cass returns, without her sister Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held. But to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn’t add up. Looking deep within this dysfunctional family Dr. Winter uncovers a life where boundaries were violated and a narcissistic parent held sway. And where one sister’s return might just be the beginning of the crime.
When Cass Tanner appears on her mother’s doorstep three years after last being seen (which was also the same night her sister Emma disappeared), it’s an arrival no one is expecting, especially – it seems – her mother who, in the intervening years, has styled herself as a grieving parent and now seems uncertain how to act.
Missing, presumed dead (I think it’s fair to say), Cass’ return reopens a case FBI forensic psychiatrist Abby Winter has never been able to let go of. In fact, it has haunted her, harming her relationship with her colleagues and her career. Now, not only does she have the chance to see if her theories about the sisters disappearance were right, she gets to kill some of her demons and, just maybe, get a decent nights sleep.
For Cass, there is only one thing she wants – to find Emma. She claims the two have been kept hostage these last three years before she was able to escape, promising Emma she would get help. For the FBI to find Emma though, they have to know where she is…and for that they need Cass to tell her story, which she does, slowly offering up a trail of breadcrumbs which seem to lead nowhere and everywhere but Emma. It’s no wonder Abby is convinced there is more to Cass and Cass’ story than meets the eye.
As a reader, figuring out if Abby is right is one of the things I found so compelling about this book. I am used to unreliable characters but Cass was in a different league and Abby wasn’t much better at times – I couldn’t be sure if she was seeing the reality of the situation or trying to make her version of the facts fit. I really didn’t know if I was coming or going as the story unfolded as a result. Not that this is a bad thing as I love a bit of intrigue and family drama and there was plenty here.
With the story alternating between Cass and Abby, the truth does start to trickle out…along with plenty of lies. Which is the second thing I thought made this book a compelling read. Because the lies aren’t there to just add twists and turns, they completely turn the book on its head once your realise they are important. You need to pay attention to them (at least if you don’t want to be as confused as I was at times!)
Walker was really clever here. I started off thinking I was reading one type of book, then finished realising I had been reading something else. Clever, clever, clever. Add to this strong writing and strong characters, who I can’t say I liked but who definitely intrigued me, and I was left with a book I liked a lot and would definitely recommend.
Note: I received this book in turn for a fair and honest review. All thoughts, feelings and opinions are my own.