Review of THE NIGHT SHE WENT MISSING by Kristen Bird

This is a fantastic debut novel by a new voice in suspense and domestic drama! Three families are bound together by the events in a small town, where everyone knows everyone else and where the matriarch of the town, Rosalyn Callahan, pull strings like she’s a puppeteer. Catherine, Morgan and Leslie were once friends, but their relationship has deteriorated so that they are barely speaking and then only when necessary. When Catherine’s teen daughter disappears one night after a party, Catherine pulls out all the stops to find Emily, including seeking the help of Morgan’s son Alex and Leslie’s daughter Anna. There is a lot of underlying tension between the families and a lot of suspicion about what happened to Emily. The tension builds nicely, with a quick-paced plot and a well done conclusion. There were a few loose ends that I would have liked more information about, so that is the reason for the four stars. There is tons of family drama and people with real psychological problems who are mingled in a very complex plot, with lots of characters and more than a few suspects. I enjoyed the setting and the way the families were all connected in some way. I also enjoyed getting to know Sawyer, Leslie’s estranged son and one of the few characters who seemed genuinely honest and concerned about Emily. The characterization was fleshed out well, even with the number of people involved in the drama. All in all, this was an extremely well-written novel that kept me reading and guessing until the end.
Disclaimer
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Harper Collins Publisher via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”

I would rate this book a hard PG-13 because of the plot content and also there are lots of expletives. The F-word is used freely and often. Note that this is a debut novel, so hopefully the author will temper the language more in future books.
Growing up, Kristen lived in Virginia, Alabama, California, Oregon, and Texas. She wrote plays and short stories for anyone who would read them and eventually graduated college with a double major in Music and Journalism. A few years later, she earned a Masters in Literature and for her creative thesis wrote her first full-length novel, which she happily keeps unpublished.
As a teacher, she enjoys finding creative pairings of the classic canon and modern texts, and she promotes choice reading in her classroom. She also likes to tell other writers, including her students over the past fifteen years, the importance of extensive revisions as well as the necessity of grit—in the writing process and in everyday life.
Kristen is the oldest of four kids and is grateful to see her parents and brother and sisters, nieces and nephews often. Her husband is a musician and a worship director for a church near their home, and her daughters are amateur bakers, awesome artists, and inquisitive thinkers who love to cuddle up and read together.
Thanks to Bess Garison for photography. Biographical Info from the author’s website at http://www.kristenbird.com

This is an excellent debut novel and I recommend it for mature readers. It is available now at the following online site:

Harper Collins (includes links to multiple sites to purchase the book)

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