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The Girls Who Disappeared by Claire Douglas - Review

Monday, October 31, 2022

I requested this book on Netgalley so thank you very much to Penguin Random House for granting this to me. I received an electronic copy of the book for review purposes, but was not otherwise compensated for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. The book was published on the 15th of September so is available now.

I was intrigued by the premise of this book which is why I requested it. I haven't read anything else by Claire Douglas but I've heard a few people raving about The Couple at Number 9 so I might request that from the library. 

Right at the beginning of the book is a flashback. Olivia is eighteen and driving her friends Sally, Hetty, and Tamzin home from the club they've been to. They're driving down a road outside their town called Devil's Corridor when Olivia sees a man in a hood in the road, and swerves to avoid him. She crashes the car, and when she wakes up, she is trapped in the car by the steering column. But the girls are gone. Olivia is rescued by a man called Ralph, who is a bit of an oddball, and has to undergo surgery. But the girls she was with are never seen again.

Twenty years later a journalist called Jenna is heading to the town to record a podcast about the case. She is pretty sure Olivia won't talk to her but others will. The town is called Stafferbury and it's obviously loosely based on Avebury as it has some ancient standing stones in it, and there are plenty of rumours of strange happenings, especially on Devil's Corridor. Jenna finds it creepy the moment she arrives, when she meets Ralph Middleton herself. She is staying in a cabin in the woods and she's certain there's someone in the cabin next door, even though the cabins' owner says there isn't. She meets with an ex police officer and then a current officer, trying to get to the bottom of what happened that night twenty years ago. But someone isn't happy about this...

Meawhile we also get parts from Olivia's point of view. She is now thirty eight and living with her mother. The two of them run a stables together. She has a boyfriend, Wesley, who she has been with since before the accident. He wants them to move in together but Olivia has misgivings about this. He treats her like a child and is keeping secrets from her. Olivia has been left permanently injured by the accident and feels like she's had a bit of a stilted life. 

Meanwhile again, there are flashbacks to eight friends, led by Stace, going on holiday to Thailand to visit a friend of one of them. Things quickly go south. It's not obvious for ages how these parts of the book fit in with the rest, but I liked the reveal.

All in all I'm giving this four out of five as I enjoyed it!

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