Monday, January 6, 2020

Ghosts of the Missing by Kathleen Donohoe

The comparison to THE LOVELY BONES is really unfortunate because it almost sets this book up to fail. The only things the two books really have in common is the disappearance of a young girl and the ripple effect it has on a small community. GHOSTS OF THE MISSING in particular revolves around the missing girl's friend, Adair, now a young portraitist living in New York.

She leaves the city to go back to her hometown, a small, barely on the map place in upstate New York. She isn't just haunted by her friend's disappearance; we soon find out that she has her own demons to contend with-- the death of her parents, a history of chronic disease, and her lack of closure with all three disasters that seems to have spurred a fatalistic depression.

I really liked the beginning of this book, as it captures the superficiality of New York, New York so well. That quickly disappears as Adair returns home. I tried to find something to like in this smaller, more community-oriented piece of the novel, and I did enjoy the way the Irish communities in New England were portrayed, being of Irish descent myself. It's always cool to see where you come from, you know?

Beyond that, there was a lot more that I didn't like about this book. There were way too many back stories which, in my opinion, didn't add all that much to the book. GHOSTS OF THE MISSING teased at supernatural elements, conspiracies, and murder, but none of that came to a head in a satisfactory matter. I did not get the closure I wanted with the main mystery and I really wasn't happy with the way being HIV+ was represented here, even though I think the author was doing her best to dispel myth and misinformation. That actually made it sadder-- because I honestly don't think she meant to portray such negative representation. I just hate seeing chronic disease treated like life is already over.

By the end of the book I was bored and unhappy and frustrated. I really wanted this to be good and it gives me no pleasure to rate this poorly, but I take my responsibility as a book blogger very seriously, and I do not want someone else to be falsely lured in by the comparison to THE LOVELY BONES. I think it is important to be 100% honest, even if my opinion might not be popular, and do my best to say why something did or didn't work for me, even if that might not be the case for someone else.

If you end up giving this a try, I hope it works out better for you than it did me. The writing is more like Paula Hawkins than Gillian Flynn or Alice Sebold, so if that angsty, slow-paced style of story-telling works better for you, you might very well enjoy this. Just keep in mind that as far as this book is concerned, it's all about the journey and not so much about the destination.

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!  

2 out of 5 stars

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