Genre fiction is often disrespected by literary snobs. I believe the content often has more to offer than meets the eye. However, like any writing, it goes through phases. Thomas Harris put the serial killer study in the spotlight. Twilight created a massive amount of takes on the vampire story. Gone Girl has started a new suspense genre dealing with unreliable narrators and the requirement to use “girl” somewhere in the title of the novel. These books are usually fun, and this one was just released in trade paperback about a month ago. All The Missing Girls is an interesting addition to this new phenomenon.
All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda is about some missing girls. The story feels very familiar with the recent slew of books with this model hitting the shelves. However, Miranda tells this suspense story in reverse. Well, ninety percent of it at least. Nicolette Farrell moved away from her hometown Cooley Ridge after her best friend, Corrine, disappeared one night after the county fair. Nicolette returns home to help her brother Daniel sell their father’s house. He is in an assisted living home due to an advanced case of dementia. Old demons are brought to the surface when Nic’s ex-boyfriend Tyler’s girlfriend disappears shortly after she arrives in town. Nicolette is forced to face the past and look at all of her loved ones as potential subjects into the disappearance.
This book was enjoyable, and I would recommend reading it. That being said, it isn’t without flaws. Books like this and The Girl on the Train suffer from their endings. The build up is so strong that maybe it’s impossible to deliver. The conclusion doesn’t leave loose ends, and it is satisfying. It’s just missing something that Gone Girl, the godfather of the “girl” books, had that took it over the top. Miranda is writing her first novel after being an established name in Young Adult fiction for the past few years. It’s a great quick read that is engaging and a nice spin on a common trope.
The non-linear unfolding of the story and the excellent depiction of small town scandal makes this worth the read. Its flaws are no different that what plagues ninety-five percent of the thriller genre specifically. The journey is worth reading more in comparison to the destination. It’s hard to write a satisfying payoff when the suspense is so high. Megan Miranda’s new novel The Perfect Stranger is coming April 11th from Simon & Schuster.
Next week’s review will be a nice throwback. I promise girl isn’t in the title either