After long years of being away from the A to Z Blogging Challenge, I’m going to write about thrillers of all stripes, mysteries, and crime novels for 26 days in April, based on the letters of the alphabet. All posts will be linked here.
Since I’m writing up thriller and crime novel recommendations, I’m also giving away a 50 USD Amazon Gift card, to support reading, and to help my next novel THE BLUE BAR along on its journey.
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After Killing Floor by Lee Child, I bring you Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica.
Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica : Book Description
Shelby Tebow is the first to go missing. Not long after, Meredith Dickey and her six-year-old daughter, Delilah, vanish just blocks away from where Shelby was last seen, striking fear into their once-peaceful community. Are these incidents connected? After an elusive search that yields more questions than answers, the case eventually goes cold.
Now, 11 years later, Delilah shockingly returns. Everyone wants to know what happened to her, but no one is prepared for what they’ll find….
In this smart and chilling thriller, master of suspense and New York Times best-selling author Mary Kubica takes domestic secrets to a whole new level, showing that some people will stop at nothing to keep the truth buried.
Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica : Excerpt
There’s a knock at the door. It’s loud and insistent. It’s after nine o’clock at night. It’s dark outside, the moon and stars hidden behind storm clouds. The only time I can see outside is when lightning strikes, flooding the world with a sudden burst of light.
I’m in the kitchen, home late from a long day of work. I’ve just opened a bottle of wine and am waiting for leftovers—Bea’s stuffed shells that she made hours ago, when I was still under the impression I’d be home on time—to warm in the microwave when the knock comes. I look up from my glass at the sound of it, my blood running suddenly cold.
People don’t show up out of the blue at nine o’clock on a stormy night.
Bea is out back in the detached garage that she uses as a music studio. Her phone lies on the counter beside my glass of wine. From the kitchen window, I look out into the backyard, where it’s dark and raining. The rain pours down from the sky, a sudden blitz. I have trouble seeing out the window because of the rain. It hasn’t stopped raining for days. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen. I’m not the only one who’s contemplated building an ark. Even Bea, the more even-keeled of us, has contemplated building an ark. Severe flooding is expected, and every day of the next week calls for more rain. Rivers have overflowed their banks, wreaking havoc. The grocery store parking lot is a swimming pool. Roads are impassable, and some of the schools have been closed. There was footage on the news of canoes in towns not far from ours, paddling down the middle of the street.
There’s talk of the apocalypse, a quiet hysteria arising that maybe these rains are indicative of the end of times. I’m not some doomsday prophet, but still, I went to church and told the priest my confession just in case. You can never be too careful about these things.
The wind has picked up in the last few hours. I turn on a light in the backyard, flicker it a few times. Outside the branches of trees sway, scratching against the side and the back of our house. It’s horrible to listen to, the stuff of nightmares, the rasp of tree limbs like claws against the wood siding, scraping to get in. Outside, trees lose their leaves in the storm, getting blown about. Power is out in parts of town, due to downed lines. Thankfully we still have ours, though there’s no telling how long that will last. We stocked up on candles, flashlight batteries, just in case. By now, they’re impossible to find in stores.
This morning there were fallen trees in the street, casualties of last night’s violent storm. In the middle of the night, the tornado sirens howled. Bea and I sat crouched in the first-floor bathroom with Zeus in our arms, waiting for the storm to pass. Zeus hates to be held almost as much as he hates thunder. There are marks on my arms because of him.
I continue to flicker the backyard light, but Bea doesn’t notice because the door to the garage is closed. The only window is in the attic portion of the garage, where Bea doesn’t go.
It comes again then, the same insistent battering on the heavy wood. My teeth clench; my shoulders tense. I tell myself that it’s nothing to worry about. Bea is the more bold of us. If she were here, she’d answer the door unflinching. But without Bea, I force myself to be an adult, to go to the front door and open it up. Zeus is on the bottom step when I come into the hall. He runs upstairs at the sound of another knock to hide, an incompetent guard cat.
The front door is edged by windows. I turn the porch light on and have a look out the window before opening up the door. A man stands there in the glow of the porch light. He’s dripping wet. At first my heart starts, but then I breathe a sigh of relief when I see that it isn’t some stranger showing up unsolicited at this time of night.
My body physically relaxes at seeing him, the tension I was carrying in my shoulders melting away. Josh is our neighbor. He lives next door with his wife, Meredith, and their two kids.
I pull open the door and the wind rushes in. The rain has drenched Josh and his son, Leo, who stands at Josh’s side shivering and wet. Both of their hair is limp, falling into their faces. Water runs down their foreheads and cheeks. Their clothes hang heavy, shapeless. The rain can’t reach them under the porch’s wide roof, but that doesn’t matter now that they’re thoroughly soaked. They’ve walked here in the rain. It’s not far, but they must have a good reason to be out on a night like tonight. Josh has his arm around Leo’s shoulders and he’s pulling him into his leg, Leo’s head barely surpassing Josh’s knee in height.
Leo isn’t crying. But I can see on his face that he’d like to cry. Leo is four. We celebrated his birthday with Josh and Meredith last month, at a circus-themed party in their backyard, where they hired a clown and a man who made animals out of balloons. People came in costume.
Josh says hello. There’s a half smile, but it’s weighed down with something like worry. He’s wearing his work clothes, though Josh, invariably, is home by dinnertime. He keeps bankers’ hours when he isn’t wining and dining clients, so that by now he should be relaxing in front of the TV in pajamas.
“What’s going on?” I ask, seeing that something is wrong. I pull the door open wide enough to let them both in, to get them out of the rain. But Josh, with a firm hand on Leo’s shoulder, doesn’t come.
He looks to his house and then back at me. “Have you heard from Meredith, Kate?” he asks. “Do you know where she is?”
About the author, Mary Kubica
Why pick up Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica
This was my first by Kubica, and I listened to it on audio while walking by the seaside. It is a dark book, for sure, and takes a complete 180 degree turn at least twice. This is a case of a woman who goes missing, narrated by various characters, in the present and the past.
Kubica uses this device, of having various narrators, to keep the reader guessing and matching the dots only to have the dots themselves vanish. We know pretty early on who did it, but Kubica reserves a few surprises till the end.
The writing is pacy yet vivid, almost lyrical at times. You come to care for all the characters, save one, and I’ll leave you to guess which one. The subtext is wonderful, but I can’t reveal it without giving out spoilers.
Pick it up if you can stomach a bit of darkness. This thriller can keep you engrossed, and in the end, give you much to think about.
Have you read the book Local Woman Missing? If yes, what did you think of it? What crime novels have you read lately ?
Through the month of April, to celebrate the challenge and get some support for THE BLUE BAR, I’m holding this giveaway:
Enter to WIN a 50 USD Amazon gift card for this
Entries are simple: click the RAFFLECOPTER link above, and follow the instructions. It calls for a Goodreads add, a subscription request, and a follow on Instagram.
If you enjoyed the post, click on any or all of the following to stay updated:
Ooh, what an intriguing excerpt. I love how the author has used descriptions of bad weather to build tension.
Yes, the tension doesn’t let up at all in this one.
Seems I’m adding all your missing persons recommendations to my TBR. LOL.
Ronel visiting for the A-Z Challenge My Languishing TBR: L
I have not read this book but it does sound interesting. I added it to my To Be Read list. I like when a story takes different twists and turns, especially if I’m not expecting it to do so.
This story takes some mega-twists, so you might enjoy it, Betty.
This sounds dark indeed! Adding it to my list.
Cool, Shilpa. Let me know what you think of it!
I’ve read Kubica before so know she is an excellent storyteller. This sounds frightening and great.
It took a few unexpected turns–I suspect you’ll love this one, too.
I’ve added it to my TBR list on GoodReads but I’m not sure I’m ready for it right now.
You’re right–each book in its time. Maybe some day. I have books like that on my list, too.
You’ve convinced me that this is a book I must read immediately. How skilfully the setting is sketched out for the reader. And at exactly the right time, when we want to know more about that terrifying knock.
This is definitely an example of a thriller where the author understands structure and POV very well. You might enjoy it, Kalpana 🙂
Missing where people are concerned is a terrifying word – and sends my imagination down very, very dark places.
True, and in this case, the missing occurs twice, to the same family. I think thrillers play on our greatest fears.