This review is written with thanks to Michael Joseph (an imprint of Penguin UK) and Netgalley for my copy of Local Girl Missing.
Frankie's best friend, Sophie, has been missing for 21 years. Out of the blue, Frankie receives a phone call from Sophie's brother, Daniel, informing her that a body has been found on the beach and the police believe it is Sophie's. Daniel wants to find out the truth about what happened when Sophie went missing, and invites Frankie to return to Oldcliffe-on-Sea, the town where they grew up, to help him discover the answers. Will they uncover what really happened?
Local Girl Missing is written in alternate chapters, narrated by Frankie and Sophie. Frankie's chapters are set in the present day and explain her investigation with Daniel into Sophie's disappearance. Sophie's chapters are set in 1997, and are extracts from her diary. This method of narration is not original - I have recently read Watching Edie by Camilla Way where I feel this technique was used to better effect - and this made me sceptical. However, as the novel progresses, Douglas' rationale for writing in this way becomes clearer, and the narratives link together more smoothly and become easier to read.
From the outset of Local Girl Missing, it is clear that all the characters have secrets. This builds tension as the novel develops, and made me eager to continue reading. However, at times, particularly in the first half of the novel, the plot felt a little too slow. This is highlighted by the twists in which the novel culminates. I enjoyed these, particularly as I had not predicted them. However, as the ending comes together very quickly, I felt as though it was slightly rushed, especially in comparison to the earlier parts of the novel. This meant that some of the issues raised in the book were not explored in the depth I would have liked.
I would describe Local Girl Missing as a slow-burner, and I am pleased that I persevered with it. Overall, it is an enthralling novel which raises some very important themes.
Local Girl Missing was released on 11th August and is available from Amazon.