Local Girl Missing, Claire Douglas: Book Review

Someone knows where she is…

Local Girl Missing Book Cover Local Girl Missing
Claire Douglas
Mystery
Harper
2017
Paperback
337

The old Victorian pier was once a thing of beauty. It's also where twenty-one-year-old Sophie Collier vanished eighteen years ago.

Francesca has spent the last twenty years haunted by the disappearance of her best friend. But when she receives a phone call from Sophie's brother saying that a body has been found, she knows she can't keep hiding from what happened. With her own secrets to keep, Francesca doesn't relish the idea of digging up the past or returning to Oldcliffe. But it is time to go back to where she grew up, and it looks like she isn't the only one there hiding truths.

This review contains quotes from the book

*Special thanks to Harper for allowing us to review Claire Douglas’ Local Girl Missing.

Claire Douglas has written a thriller that you will not want to miss out on with her follow-up novel, Local Girl Missing. Douglas’s story surrounding a potential murderer who threatens the citizens of a small coastal town for nearly two decades is both shocking and bone-chillingly good.

The story concerns best friends Frankie and Sophie. When Sophie starts to date Leon, Frankie warns her about him because she is very suspicious of his character. Frankie doesn’t want her friend to be around a person like Leon because she saw another side to him that Sophie is too blind to see because she’s smitten by him. She hopes her friend will make the right decision by keeping her distance, but all of a sudden, Sophie disappears and remains missing for 20 years.

Two decades later, Frankie receives a call from Sophie’s brother about the remains of a body found near the pier in her hometown. This leads Frankie to investigate whether the cadaver is, in fact, Sophie’s, or if her friend is still out there somewhere after all this time.

“Frankie, it’s impossible to tell by now, and because there was no body there’s never been an inquest. Everyone just assumed that she was drunk, that she fell into the sea, that she shouldn’t have been on that pier. You know the score.” A note of anger creeps into his voice. “But I don’t believe it. I think someone knows more about that night, Frankie. I think someone knows what happened to my sister.”

— excerpt from Claire Douglas’ Local Girl Missing, on Daniel calling Frankie about finding remains near the old pier that could be Sophie.

What I liked the most about Local Girl Missing was the way Douglas structured her story. She switched between current Frankie (20 years following Sophie’s disappearance) to Sophie before she went missing, which I thought was really smart and exciting. Another aspect of the book that I liked was how Douglas wrote each character’s part. She talked about what Frankie does on a particular day in present time and what Sophie did 20 years ago on similar days, these parts would alternate in the book and it was an interesting way of organizing the novel. We also get to see how Sophie came to disappear from her perspective and you see Frankie struggling with the fact that her best friend could still be alive after all those years.

“I take a large slug of wine but it doesn’t stop my heart palpitating. Because the truth is bound to come out, Soph, and with it the dark secret we kept back then; the one thing we could never tell anyone else. Ever.”

— excerpt from Claire Douglas’ Local Girl Missing, on Daniel calling Frankie about finding remains near the old pier that could be Sophie.

Lastly, another aspect of the story I liked was the moment Frankie thinks she sees Sophie on the pier late when she’s out one night. Or so she thinks because it could also be another woman that looks very similar to Sophie. In the end, it all comes together by having Frankie realizing what happened to Sophie explaining it herself.

Local Girl Missing was addicting from start to finish, and I would recommend it to anyone in search of a new thriller that will keep them up at all hours of the night.

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Written by Jessica Duffield

I am a sophomore in college. Books are my passion and I hope to work in book publishing once I graduate.