Title: The Missing Place
Author: Sophie Littlefield
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: October 2014
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Twenty-year-old Taylor Jarvis and Paul Carroll go missing in Weir, North Dakota, where they have been working on rigs owned by Oasis Energy. The boys stayed in Black Creek Lodge, a camp providing room and board. The mothers of the two boys come to Weir to find out what happened to their sons and form an uneasy alliance. Shay Jarvis, a 41-year-old single grandmother, has more grit than resources; for wealthy suburban housewife Colleen Carroll, the opposite is true. Overtaxed by worry, exhaustion, and fear, they question each other’s methods and motivations – but there is no one else to help, and they must learn to work together if they are to have any chance of breaking through the barriers put up by their sons? employer, the indifference of an overtaxed police department, and a town of strangers with their own secrets against a backdrop of a modern day gold rush.
When I began reading The Missing Place I couldn’t stop reading. I couldn’t put it down. Littlefield builds up a suspenseful and tense story that pulls at your heart strings and has you desperately searching for answers. Her writing puts you right into the pain of the the two mothers whose sons have gone missing. She doesn’t hold back on their grief and anguish and their drive and desire to find their sons whisks the story along. Littlefield’s prose is luring and captivating. Her writing style grips you right away. I didn’t want to stop reading. If I was only rating the first half of the story, I’d give it 5 stars.
It’s the second half of the story that frustrated me. I began to loath Shay as a character. She seems bitter and hateful of Colleen because of what Colleen has (in contrast to what Shay feels she lacks). Instead of dealing with the emotions she’s feeling, Shay acknowledges that those emotions are there and chooses to ignore them. She understands her hatred of Colleen is irrational, yet she continues to be cruel and mean towards a woman who has suffered in much the same way and who has only worked to help. The fact that these two women remain friends at the end in totally unbelievable to me. It made me angry that Colleen is a victim and yet everyone treats her like crap. Her son Paul is totally ungrateful to the nightmare that Colleen suffered and doesn’t even acknowledge that she threw her life aside in order to save his. And Colleen does everything in her power to help everyone involved, yet she gets blamed over and over again. Now, sure she’s not perfect and she’s by no means a saint, but can’t all the other characters cut this poor woman some slack every now and again?!
And that’s my rant about the end of this book. The unrealistic actions, anger, and at some times, cruelty, of more than a few of the characters really took away from the wonderful construction of tension and drama throughout the first half. It was a struggle to get through and I only wish that the novel had wrapped up with the same detail and finesse with which it started.