When I put in a request for The Girl Who Disappeared Twice, I was expecting to have to write up a review of a mindless airport novel, only good for whiling away the hours of a long and boring day. So I opened the book, expecting a Dan Brown-style thriller. And that’s what I got – except this one is actually good and I read it from start to finish in a matter of hours.
A novel that at first glance looks like another standard mystery novel with a protagonist who knows everything and can read people easily turns out to be a surprisingly well done page-turner with just one or two flaws, which I shall address later.
For now, let’s concentrate on the story. A prologue involving a little girl-child getting kidnapped 30 years ago leads into the present day, where another girl has been kidnapped and it is up to Intuitive Detective (a name of my own devising) Casey Woods and her team of Bloody Forensic Geniuses or whatever it is they call themselves to save the day and the little girl. They’re pretty much private detectives who consult with the police every now and then.
The characters in this book are rather interesting considering that you could probably find them on one of the many American mystery dramas at the moment. Of note is the technical genius who invents robots to spy on people (he’s basically the Major Boothroyd of the team). There’s a relationship that develops between Casey and one of her colleagues which is rather heated, so that might be something to bear in mind when buying (especially if you are buying for an elderly relative).
The main problem with this book is that (and some might argue that this makes the book redundant) the reveal of who kidnapped the girl is very obvious from page 80 of a 400 page book. It’s hard to tell whether other people would be able to work it out with the same ease as I was able to. However, as I am not “other people,” I felt slightly cheated. Half of the fun of reading mystery novels is trying to figure out the ending, or “whodunnit” as it were. Perhaps this comes from the fact that I guess at this sort of stuff a lot, but it seemed annoying that it didn’t even occur to the characters until the big reveal (and indeed, seemed to ignore clues that would’ve given them the answer a lot sooner).
The main problem with the above paragraph, on the other hand, is that there is no way I can type it without sounding disappointed in the book, which I’m not. Although the twist was obvious (I was expecting the various hints to be a red herring — but nope) the book itself was pleasant and enjoyable and was really quite addictive. It’s good if you have a few spare hours to devote to it, but if you’re too analytical (and therefore more likely to work out who the kidnapper is) then this book is not for you. Otherwise, I’d recommend it (and have passed the book on to a friend who’s into these sorts of books).