The Missing Ones are young children missing from a touristy island in Maine. Damaged heroine Hester Thursby is unwilling dragged into the case by a cryptic text by long-missing best friend Daphne.
In the excellent Little Comfort (here is my 5-star review), the first book in this series, three-year-old Kate is left behind by Hester’s best friend, Daphne. Hester is still seriously disturbed by the events in the first book. She clearly has PTSD and won’t let Kate leave her side even to go to preschool. However, when she receives a text from Daphne asking for her help, Hester sets off to help her. Hester decides not to tell her boyfriend Morgan, who is Daphne’s twin, and takes now four-year-old Kate with her to the Maine island where four-year-old children are turning up missing. Again, Hester is having anxiety issues. She is obviously not thinking like the shrewd Harvard librarian or missing person investigator she was in the first book.
While I miss the smart Hester from Little Comfort, it is realistic that she would have PTSD from the horrific events she has gone through. It is also rare and refreshing to see an adverse reaction from a mystery character. I believe this is the first time I have seen it relate so directly to a previous plot.
The mystery itself incorporates many modern themes like homelessness, the opioid crisis, and a small town’s reaction to both. The atmosphere of gloom and fear relating to the looming hurricane and the missing children feels almost like a character within the book. My only complaint is that the pacing is more like literary fiction than a mystery or thriller. It takes a while to get to the meat of the plot. This may be in part because Little Comfort aftermath is such a big part of this book that the author has to describe it fully. I’m not sure. But as a standalone, I would rate it four stars. I think it would be much better for your reading enjoyment to read Little Comfort first. I previously rated that book as 5 out 5 stars so you are in for a treat.
Thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.