“You take it on faith, you take it from the heart/ The waiting is the hardest part.” Tom Petty
C.L. Taylor’s The Missing is an intriguing mixed bag.
The Missing: A Novel by C.L. Taylor (William Morrow Paperbacks, $15.99, 496 pages)
Claire, the mother of a missing child, Billy, suffers through the mental anguish of trying to determine if he is actually still alive when she loses hope in the authorities. This has a tragic impact on all of her relationships, including her mother, best friend, her other son, Jake, his live-in girlfriend Kira, and husband Mark.
All of the tricks of enticing the reader in, choppy scenes that attempt to accentuate the characters’ minds and the turmoil of the story itself, work – sometimes. And then they become tiresome and tiring. Just when the reader begins to become attached to the story and plot – interested in trying to figure out what is actually going on, things get to be too much.
In all novels one must suspend reality and in the suspense/intrigue genre, this is even more paramount. In The Missing I found myself rooting for Taylor to pull it off. (There’s a story to be told here that should be worth the time and energy.) There are personal stories and interrelationships that come close to making this a special novel. But it does not quite get there.
At over 450 pages, the telling is too long. The story drags on and this diminishes the impact of the conclusion when the truth is revealed to the intrepid reader.
There is some very good writing in The Missing and there are sections where one’s interest is definitely heightened. At times the story moves along nicely and pulls the reader in. But it’s not consistent enough to be viewed as a top notch suspense novel. Let’s hope that Morrow assigns a diligent editor to work with Taylor on her next release.
Despite these reservations, there will be readers who will enjoy the book.
Recommended, for a less demanding audience.
A review copy was provided by the publisher.
Dave Moyer is a professional educator and sometime drummer. He is the author of Life and Life Only: A Novel about baseball, love and Bob Dylan.