Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica

Delilah Dickey has been missing for 11 years when she escapes from a basement where she’s been held and is found in the woods by a woman walking her dog. Her return brings a lot of questions back to the surface about the events all those years ago when two other women went missing, including Delilah’s own mother.

Based on the way this book is written, with different involved characters telling parts of the story, this book is firmly in domestic thriller territory. But it is also a mystery, even though it’s not a classic procedural format, and reminds me of true crime podcast stories. The book moves between past and present, and quite a few different characters as we learn who knows what and throws in some false leads too. So, if you like that kind of thing, (which I do) then this book is probably for you. But that said, it feels a little darker than the average domestic thriller, because of the women going missing and the child abduction, so that’s an aspect to consider when deciding if this one is for you.

Mary Kubica writes real page turners. This book has enough twists and things that keeps you turning pages and wanting to read just one more chapter before you have to put it down. This book is no exception. There are a range of characters, from neighbors who knew the women before they went missing, to the brother of the returned abducted child, and one of the missing women herself. It’s a neat way of switching us over to another aspect of the plot as a kind of cliffhanger, and I really liked how that was handled.

A lot of domestic thrillers have female leads and have concerns about babies or children. This book has a doula as a character, and we see her advocating for women giving birth in hospitals. The book takes some time to explore why this is important and how women and their bodies are sidelined and not respected during pregnancy and birth. By time taken, I mean that this is an interesting and unsettling thread in this story, which doesn’t slow down or preach about the subject, but becomes a clue to what may be part of the mystery or a link between the women. I thought this was really nicely done.

I did feel like the book took it’s time in the middle, and then suddenly sped up in the last few pages and was all wrapped up and over in a way that felt oddly rushed, given the rest of the book. I’ve seen this in other domestic thrillers too, and I think it’s odd. Also, the ending was a little unrealistic, perhaps. I actually don’t mind that, because again, I think being something that we didn’t expect, and having that sting of a twist in the tail of the story is part of what you want in these stories, but I felt like the clues weren’t there in the rest of the book that the person “whodunnit” was capable of being the killer. It seemed a little too easy. But I think perhaps it’s the journey more than the destination with these kinds of stories, and I really liked reading this book.

Overall, a good entry in this genre and a good read. It’s not slow or predictable, and the characters are all interesting and have their own clues in their part of the story. Mary Kubica fans and genre fans will not be disappointed.

Read It If: you like true crime podcasts and dark mysteries. A good domestic thriller, even if the ending is a little rushed.

Thank you Harper Collins for the ARC of this book for review. Local Woman MIssing is out now.

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