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Thursday 14 November 2019

‘Missing Person’ by Sarah Lotz

Published by Hodder & Stoughton,
5 September 2019.
ISBN: 978-1-473-62462-7 (HB)

Shaun lives in Northern Ireland with his dog Daphne. He leads a quiet life living in the flat above the bookshop where he works.  He had always been led to believe that his uncle Teddy had been killed when he was young many years ago. Howeverr, a doubt arises in his mind when he has a visit from Johnny an old acquaintance of his uncle's. He is adamant that he was not killed but because he was gay the family rid themselves of him by paying his fare to New York. He was told never to come back and he didn't. 

Shaun decides to try and find out the truth for himself. He learns of a group of people in America called, made up of amateur sleuths, people trying to give a name to unidentified bodies. They all have avatars, so no one knows of the others identities.

Shaun gets in touch with them and sends a photo of Teddy. One of the group thinks he looks like an unidentified body known as “The Boy in a Dress” discovered in 1996.

The rest of Shaun's family are not happy about him trying to find the truth and when he has a telephone call supposedly from Teddy telling him not to look for him, he really is puzzled and not sure what to think. Could it be one of the family trying to put him off?

When he is told that Teddy abused a ten-year-old, he decides that he really must get to the bottom of Teddy's disappearance and he flies to America. One of the group who lives near where the body was found invites him to come and stay.

Meanwhile it is slowly disclosed to the reader that the murderer of “The Boy in a Dress” is also a member of the group and loves to manipulate them. Is the body really that of Teddy and was he a pervert as the family maintained? Shaun needs all the help he can get to find the truth but will he find it?

A very unusual and cleverly written story. A really intriguingly good read. It demonstartes the lengths some families will go to, to cover up the supposed seedy actions of one of their members.  It was also interesting to see inside the devious and clever mind of a murderer. Highly recommended. 
Reviewer: Tricia Chappell

Sarah Lotz is a screenwriter and novelist with a fondness for the macabre and fake names. Incapable of holding down a 'proper' job, over the years she's painted outrageous frescos for dubious casinos, written scripts for South Africa's first full-length sci-fi cartoon show and lived homeless on the streets of Paris as a teenage runaway. Among other things, she writes horror/thriller novels under the name S.L. Grey with author Louis Greenberg, a YA pulp-fiction zombie series with her daughter, Savannah, under the pseudonym Lily Herne, and quirky erotica novels with authors Helen Moffett and Paige Nick under the name Helena S. Paige. Stephen King said her solo novel The Three was 'really wonderful' (which made her cry in a very good way. She likes cake, scruffy dogs, fast cars and sitting in her attic making stuff up.

Tricia Chappell. I have a great love of books and reading, especially crime and thrillers. I play the occasional game of golf (when I am not reading). My great love is cruising especially to far flung places, when there are long days at sea for plenty more reading! I am really enjoying reviewing books and have found lots of great new authors.

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