Whilst Ella goes to hide in the park, her mother Lisa turns away to answer a phone call; when Lisa turns around Ella is gone. Ella is only four years old and she’s been taken from the park leaving no trace.
Muriel has taken her.
Muriel misses her son, Matthew. Matthew no longer lives with Muriel. Muriel’s favourite memories of Matthew are from when he was a young boy, when he was that age everything seemed so simple… she could control him. Muriel sees her chance to recreate her cherished moments with Ella… all she needs to do is make her look like Matthew and keep her away from the outside world.
The first thing I need to get off my chest was my dislike of embracing the local dialogue in this book. The book is set in the outskirts of Manchester and it’s clearly reflected in the conversations between the characters. Whilst some people will probably love this added touch, ending sentences with ‘like’ and dropping ‘the’ from sentences got on my nerves… a little too much!
What I really did enjoy about this plot was how all of the parts of the puzzle came together: you get the view point from Lisa (the mother), the view point from Muriel (the abductor) and also the view point from Matthew – although his part is based a year prior to the current events. Knowing that the abductor is Muriel from the start, it was really easy to get absorbed into the plot and when the police began pursuing different leads, I was thinking ‘IT’S HER… she’s even contacted the parents and you’re all OBLIVIOUS!!’. I was surprised by how late in the story that Green decided to turn the investigation towards Muriel and I was impressed by how she managed to wrap the story up whilst not feeling rushed.
The build up to understanding Muriel’s character was done beautifully, I went through all kinds of emotions as I read her viewpoint. I’d sway from thinking she was ‘absolutely bonkers‘ to ‘oh maybe she has a point‘ to ‘nope, she’s lost her marbles‘.
Although this is not the best thriller I’ve ever read, it’s definitely worth a try: the plot is solid; the characters are complex and well connected; and the emotional connection to Matthew was built up so cleverly!
Until next time, Chloé x