Monday, 6 July 2015

First One Missing by Tammy Cohen

First One Missing
By Tammy Cohen
Published by Transworld (2 July 2015)
ISBN: 978-0857522771

Publisher's description
There are three things no-one can prepare you for when your daughter is murdered:
- You are haunted by her memory day and night.
- Even close friends can't understand what you are going through.
- Only in a group of mothers of other victims can you find real comfort.
But as the bereaved parents gather to offer support in the wake of another killing, a crack appears in the group that threatens to rock their lives all over again.
Welcome to the club no-one wants to join.

My verdict
First One Missing is a character-led slow burning psychological thriller. It follows the heartbreak of families whose daughters appear to have been the victims of a serial killer over a four-year period. While the police continue to search for the murderer, the parents live with the knowledge that they will never see their beloved daughters again and struggle to face the future without them.

Helen Purvis, the mother of the first victim, has set up Megan's Angels, a support group for the bereaved parents, named after her daughter. Unfortunately, as more girls are murdered, the group grows in number. Leanne Miller, one of the family liaison officers, supports the families as they try to move on with their lives. But it's difficult for them to do this when the killer is still at large and the media are knocking at the door.

In First One Missing, Tammy Cohen has tackled a difficult subject - the murder of girls under 10. While the underlying story is a dark one, she manages not to make the book gruesome or difficult to read. The narrative plays havoc with your emotions as it switches from one character to another. You get to know their innermost thoughts and feelings as the story progresses, which makes the characters seem very real.

Several of the parents come under suspicion as the police investigate, but there are also various other suspects too. I had no idea who the killer was, and this came as a welcome surprise (as I often manage to guess correctly). This is a complex plot, but well written with several twists and turns to lead the reader off track.

I received an Advanced Reader Copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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