Book Reviews

Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica – Book Review

A book cover of Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica

Warning – possible spoilers! (Tiny ones, though, and I’ll try to avoid even those; I swear I’ll give my best not to ruin it for you… :-))

Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica – Book Details

TITLE – Local Woman Missing

AUTHOR – Mary Kubica

GENREthriller, mystery, suspense



MY RATING – 4 of 5


What It Is About

We hadn’t known Shelby, but it was all over Facebook and then, later in the day, in the paper and on the news: Local Woman Missing.

To some people, their secrets are more important than other people’s lives.

On a quiet street in a peaceful community, three people had gone missing. First Shelby Tebow, soon after Meredith Dickey and her daughter, Delilah.

The investigation brought answers that only asked more questions. And for 11 years no one knew what happened to Delilah.

Now Delilah is back. But her return doesn’t enlighten the whole thing as much as everyone hoped it would. It does, however, stir up some old ghosts. And prompts everyone to question – one more time – what happen to these women 11 years ago.

Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica – My Review

I sit now with my spoon in my lap. I keep it close. It’s not a spear. I don’t think it’ll ever be a spear, but it’s mangled enough that it’s got a chiseled point and could stun someone, if not kill.

Local Woman Missing is the second Mary Kubica’s book I’ve read. The first one, The Good Girl – I liked it, but honestly, it wasn’t my favorite thriller ever. Probably because it had one trope I really hate.

Still, I remember loving the writing, the plot was great and the payoff was pretty spectacular. (Not so much the twist, but more in terms of the consequences).

All in all, I came out of that experience pretty happy with what I got. And looking forward to checking out some other books by this author.

But, as it often happens to me, it’s been a couple of years and I didn’t get around to it until just recently. But a few weeks ago I was in a mood for a good kind-of-domestic thriller. And for some reason, Mary Kubica was first to my mind.

I decided to check out her latest work, which was Local Woman Missing. And I liked it overall.

He stares at her too long, his expression unclear. “When people do dumb shit like this, they always wind up dead.”

First of all, the writing. Short, quick sentences. Kubica has a very simple sentence structure that I know drives some people up the wall. I didn’t mind it.

It reminded me a bit of how someone would word things in their head, as opposed to if they were telling the story to someone. Simple and honest. Without trying to impress. It is what it is.

There’s something so compelling about it, especially in the thriller genre.

Second, the atmosphere. I love thrillers set in small communities, whether it be a small town, a manor, a boarding school or in this case – a neighborhood.

Contained setting gives a closer, more intimate view on the story, which I love. There was also something about the endless rain that shrouded everything in a mysterious atmosphere.

I thought it might mean something. I thought her dream might be premonitory, like you were dead and you’d turned into an angel with wings, and were flying to heaven. But as it turned out, it was just a dream. Not all dreams mean something.

The story was told in several timelines and from multiple POVs. And this created a very interesting way in which the secrets were revealed to the reader.  It almost felt as if we got a whole picture at the beginning that slowly started to get zoomed in the more you get into the book. And the closer you get, the more details you can pick out.

The narrators were so painfully human, with all their fears, doubts, questions and flaws. All the characters were confused, scared, tired and resentful.

They often found themselves in the midst of circumstances they couldn’t understand, it all just felt so chilling and foreboding. It was easy for me to relate to most of them (or at least to certain things they were thinking or feeling), which raised the engagement levels and put me on the edge of my seat.

That’s not to say I didn’t think about you. I thought about you a lot when you were gone, though all I ever knew was the absence of you.

And the plot itself was pretty exciting, especially in the beginning. The women vanishing from a quiet neighborhood. The missing girl coming back after 11 years, except that it almost feels like not all of her is back.

The sinister vibes spreading around the neighborhood. Trying to figure it out. Getting nowhere with it.

But the book started losing me in the second half. The revelation and some decisions made were quite implausible. And the pile of hard-to-believe things just kept piling up.

And the ending wasn’t terrible per say. (Ok, some parts were pretty bad). But it didn’t feel as satisfying as I hoped.

I usually allow for farfetched thriller and mystery endings, but I guess you can’t buy into all of them. And something about this one really rubbed me the wrong way.

I don’t got a mean bone in my body, or at least I don’t think I did before coming to this place. But being locked in the dark does bad things to a person’s mind. It changes them. Turns them into something new. I’m not the same person I was before that man and that lady stole me.

Still, Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica was a pretty good thriller. It was atmospheric and quite thrilling actually. And it would probably even be a five star for me if the ending was different. (Then again, by this point I’m so used to disappointing thriller endings, I am barely taking them into account.)

So if you are looking for a book to read in one sitting during, say, a rainy afternoon, this one is a pretty solid choice. Not perfect, but entertaining. Not the best thing you’ll ever read, but cool to kill some time with.

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