The Missing - Caroline Eriksson

**** Abuse and madness

“The Missing” wants to be a genre novel, specifically a psychological thriller, but at the same time addresses the issue of abuse on women, which would put it in the so-called literary fiction. The result of this union is not entirely successful. The reader doesn’t exactly know what to expect and in some ways they see their expectations disappointed, but in others they are pleasantly surprised. The risk, however, is to lose them well before the end of the book.
I admit that at the beginning of this book I was reading very fast. This happens when I find the story slow and I want to get rid of it as soon as possible. For about half of the pages, nothing happens. The protagonist dumps her delirium on the reader, in present tense and first person. Given the context (two people have disappeared), her behaviour does not make the slightest sense. Every attempt to suspend my disbelief is put to the test, page after page.
Now, in a literary fiction book, it can happen that nothing happens, even in the whole book, but not in a thriller. Hence my disorientation.
The fact that the description on the back cover (in the Italian edition that I read) anticipates the first faint twist, which occurs at about a third of the book, certainly does not help.
When finally, in the second part, things start to move, the reading becomes more interesting and some unexpected ideas and changes of direction come up. Thanks to these I decided to give it four stars. However, a series of problems remain.
Besides the slow and improbable beginning, I found unbearable (as well as sloppy) the use of the point of view in first person for three different characters. It creates unnecessary confusion. And then there is the ending part that, instead of reaching the story’s climax, at a certain point collapses. Not even the last element that should act as a definitive coup de théâtre is able to save it, since it is a decision by one of the characters that is hardly feasible.
In short, “The Missing” has the merit of telling a story potentially able to amaze and engage from the emotional point of view, but does not quite manage to do so because of the very slow pace and unlikelihood that characterise most of the events narrated.

The Missing on Amazon.