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Summary

The loss of her mother has left Kali McKenzie with too many unanswered questions. But while clearing out Elena's art studio, she finds a drawer packed with postcards, each bearing an identical one-line message from a Canadian gallery owner called Susannah Gillespie: thinking of you. Who is this woman and what does she know about Elena's hidden past?

Desperate to find out, Kali travels with her toddler, Finn, to Susannah's isolated home on a remote British Columbian island, a place of killer whales and storms. But as bad weather closes in, Kali quickly realises she has made a big mistake. The handsome and enigmatic Susannah refuses to talk about the past, and as Kali struggles to piece together what happened back in the 1970s, Susannah's behaviour grows more and more erratic. Most worrying of all, Susannah is becoming increasingly preoccupied with little Finn...

A tense, thrilling novel about a family divided by secrets, and the lengths a mother will go to protect her child.

©2014 Lucy Atkins (P)2014 Quercus Publishing plc

Critic reviews

"A moving and suspenseful tale of the secrets a family keeps." (Rachel Hore)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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Story

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • J
  • 14-05-14

Unbelievable response!

The response of the main character to the death of her mother is unbelievable but I envy her guts and would love to be able to respond to the situation in the same way! At times this character annoyed me, but this didn't prevent me from wanting to hear more. The elements that Kali found out about her mother's earlier life were very interesting as was her defiance to her father's insistence to leave well alone. I would have wanted to carry on finding out the truth. Some aspects at the end of the story became a little unbelievable but these excesses could be forgiven. A great escapist listen.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Repetitive

This is a clever story however it is told in such a repetitive manner with often repeated description that it dragged and became dull.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Annie
  • Montignac sur Charente, France
  • 25-02-14

Disappointing

The premise for this book is a good one: discovering secrets in a family after a mother's death, but the main character was such a silly irresponsible person. Surely no mother would take a toddler half way across the world on a whim. Having said that, her mother was equally daft and irresponsible: impossible to believe that a mother would take a newborn baby and a toddler out looking for orca in an inflatable, with no lifejackets. I guessed the ending about a quarter of the way through the story.

I found the accent of the Suzannah character very grating and much too masculine and even though she was clearly unbalanced, her lack of curiosity about Kali and her son was difficult to understand. The main character, Kali, very unsympathetic - such a drip - her attitude to the toddler was simpering; I lost count of the number of times she called him 'love' and told him 'its OK' in a sickly, sentimental voice. The details of looking after a toddler was enough to put you off motherhood for life and cutting all the boring descriptions of nappy changing and feeding could have reduced the story by a quarter.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • dc
  • 26-10-17

Not as advertised and terribly long winded 4 nowt

I thought this book would be quite a good but didn’t really stick to the jacket. I do really like whales but if I wanted to learn about them I wouldn’t have bought a novel by somebody who has no advertised background in marine biology. There was so much whale talk that the actual story was only secondary bits and pieces.

The narrator quite often missed the mark between different people speaking and the voice used for the baby boy was cringeworthy to the point of actually wishing she would stop. I almost had to turn this book off because of the rambling and completely nonsensical reason for the main’s interest in her investigations.

May have been a reasonable book at 8 hours, but this is a full 20 hours I’ll never get back. I kept thinking it may get better but it never did. Foolish me. Do yourself a favour and learn from my mistake.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Nice but a bit dragged out

Would you listen to The Missing One again? Why?

This is a good listen but the story line was dragged out a bit unnecessarily long

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

Better variety of voices but okay

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Trish McCormack
  • 17-10-15

superb setting for family mystery

What made the experience of listening to The Missing One the most enjoyable?

The story of the orca was as enthralling as the twisted tale of family secrets. And the setting was beautifully described and integral to the story. I couldn't put it down. As someone with no love of toddlers I was still relatively sympathic to Finn - and he is important to the plot. But he is the reason I give 4 stars not five - a bit too much "ma ma" and "love" going on and the downside of an audio book is you can't skip those bits so easily as when reading a book! Susannah was a magnificent and scary character - unforgettable in fact.

What other book might you compare The Missing One to and why?

Jodi Picoult's Leaving Time - because of the mother-daughter stories and also the great description of animals in the wild and captivity.

What about Buffy Davies’s performance did you like?

She does a superb job of portraying character through accents and inflections

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Barbara Strachan
  • 25-03-14

Totally Gripping!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Absolutely!

Who was your favorite character and why?

Kali was the main character and was really the only person who the reader becomes fully involved with. However, her Mother, who was such a mystery to begin with, was probably my real favorite.

What about Buffy Davies’s performance did you like?

Her voice is amazing...various accents used throughout were so well done.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes....I hated having to turn it off and found myself thinking about it when I wasn't listening. Even worked out longer than necessary at the gym just so I could continue to listen. That takes a pretty special book!

Any additional comments?

The only criticism I have is that some of the descriptive passages of how Kali was feeling were overdone. They seemed to go on and on....and on in some parts.