Posts Tagged ‘Local Girl Missing’


Author: Claire Douglas

Published: 11 August 2016
Reviewed:  12 September 2016

4 out of 5 stars
Copy supplied by Penguin in return for an honest review



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.

My Thoughts & Review:

Local Girl Missing is Claire Douglas’ second novel, her first The Sisters was a compulsive and and gripping read with an explosive ending so the bar was set pretty high , knowing that Douglas is an accomplished and skilled writer.

The story revolves around two friends, Sophie and Francesca (Frankie) who were best friends.  Sophie and her mother fled from an abusive home life and settled in Oldcliffe in Somerset where the two girls met at school.  Their friendship is tested one night when they witness the death of the hotel’s chef Jason.  The trio had stolen some booze from the hotel and were all very drunk when Jason fell into the sea and drowned.  Deciding it was better to race back to the hotel and agree to keep the details of Jason’s death secret than to be honest with authorities etc, the girls unknowingly set in motion a chain of events that will forever change their lives.

Sophie tragically goes missing some years later,  vanishing after exiting a nightclub.  She is presumed dead, classed as an accidental death as there were no witnesses, the only evidence of her is her favourite trainer wedged between the safety railings on the dilapidated pier.  It makes no sense for those that knew her, things were falling into place for her.
Life moved on for Francesca, now known as Frankie, living in London and working in the hotel industry and doing well for herself.

Frankie receives a call from Daniel, Sophie’s brother who asks her to return to Somerset to help him work out what happened to Sophie all those years ago.  Feeling torn, Frankie finds she cannot refuse to help Daniel, but equally, she would rather not return to the place of her childhood.  The knock on effect of Frankie’s return brings about discoveries that lead Daniel to answers about what happened to Sophie.

With narration from Frankie in the present as well as in the form of flashbacks to memories the reader is faced with a complex web of lies, abuse, betrayal and insecurities to name but a few.  Cleverly, Douglas also adds narration from Sophie in the form of diary in alternating chapters which helps to add to the tension and increase the anticipation of what will happen next.

The characterisation fantastic, the descriptions of settings were wonderful – you could almost imagine the seaside town and the little pub, the storyline is well written and the ending was completely unexpected.

Despite being slow to start off, this book really made up for it with the intensity of the dark twisting thriller that played out on the pages within.  Claire Douglas is an author I will be keeping an eye out for in the future.

You can buy a copy of Local Girl Missing here.

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