Wow! There are thrillers with twists and then there is Local Girl Missing. A slow burning thriller that builds up to a crescendo of twists!

Twenty years ago 21-year-old Sophie Collier disappeared one night in her small Somerset hometown of Oldcliffe-on-Sea. Her best friend, Frankie (Francesca Howe), is devastated and left the town soon after the tragedy. Now she is back, answering the desperate call by Sophie’s brother Daniel to help him. To help him finally discover what happened to his sister. The impetus to his renewed search for the truth is the discovery by the police of a woman’s foot – that believed to be of his long-lost sister after she vanished, leaving only her trainer on the seaside’s dilapidated pier.

The story is told through the present narrative of Frankie and through Sophie’s old diary entries from 1997, prior to her disappearance. Eerily the two voices weave back and forth, from the past to the present. From past shared loves, to the death of a boyfriend witnessed by the girls as young. To the present and renewed love interest between Daniel and Frankie, to her former boyfriend Leon who was Sophie’s big love the months before her disappearance.

All seems connected and as Frankie arrives the past seems to invade her present existence. Quickly she begins to regret her return as ghosts literally appear to haunt her in the town, around the flat she resides. Letters appear alluding to knowledge of a devastating secret. She hears a baby’s cry every night, yet no family resides in the other apartments. Frankie’s friendly father appears more and more in the past story-line. Why? He ran a hotel in which the girls worked. How far does family come before friends? Who really is the enemy? Can one tell? Frankie’s distress and confusion is palpable but still she remains in the Oldcliffe. Unwilling to leave Daniel. Desperate, it seems, to discover the truth of her best friend’s disappearance.

The novel quickly builds to one where everyone is held under suspicion by Frankie.

I had expected a great novel by Claire Douglas as I’d been hooked by her nail-biting debut of ‘The Sisters’ where nothing was as it seemed. This book only confirms the expertise and adeptness of the author. The writing is taut, tense and gripping. The undercurrent of menace bubbles beneath the surface – a real psychological drama. Intense, shocking and frightening. Absolutely wonderful.

netgalley I received a free copy of this book from the NetGalley in exchange for a honest and impartial review.

Rating:                    4 out of 5 stars

Publisher:               Penguin UK

Publication Date: 11th August 2016

Price:                        £ 4.99 Kindle – Amazon UK          


                                  £ 3.85 Paperback – Amazon UK    


                                $ 6.03 Paperback – Amazon US      



  1. excellent review Annika..i think it’s an art to write reviews from what you perceive…I do read and write…but i feel miles to go before i write a book review..

    1. Thank you so much! 😀 I think you’re right that there is a certain art to writing reviews and when I started I was very unsure how to go about it. I read various resources for some help but mostly studied book reviews from fellow bloggers and then with time found my own style. Appreciate your comment. 😃

  2. JoHanna Massey

    Definitely a review that will send me to the library. I saw ‘The Sisters’ just last week and passed it by, but will definitely pick it up now. Annika, thank you. Always so nice to be introduced to a new author. 🐞

    1. Johanna, I’ve kept my eye out for her next book since reading The Sistes last year and was chuffed to bits to find this on NetGalley to review. A real treat! Enjoy them both! 😀

    1. Thank yo so much, Debby! Of the these both brilliant thrillers I must admit I think The Sisters is my favourite – such an unexpected twist and tightly written throughout! Enjoy them both. 😀

    1. The interweaving plot threads had me impressed and I was trying to work out the planning board for this book! Very complicated! Lots of wonderful elements thrown in and so glad you liked the review, Lana. 😀

  3. This sounds like right up my alley. I like mysteries and the foot showing up means a big clue but will it be his sister? Lovely review Annika and best wishes to the author, too.
    Have a wonderful weekend, friend! 🙂

    1. Robin, thank you so much for your lovely comment and how perceptive it is…I can’t say more for fear of spoilers! A must read for all fans of thrillers I feel, so hope you enjoy it as much as I did! 😀

    1. Jo, it was very spooky, dark and atmospheric. The town reminded me of a northern one, cold, windy, scary! A fun book to review…Hope you have a lovely weekend too. I’d forgotten it’s Bank Holiday as I am currently in Florida on a ‘special girls break’ with my mother. Having a wonderful time, living just on the beach. 😀😀😀

    1. Jacqui, I was thinking of you when reading this book and how much you’d like it! The twist is subtly built up throughout the book…but so many intermingled strands. I wonder what planning and plotting system Claire Douglas uses as so much to lose track of. I think NetGalley still have this and if you haven’t read The Sisters do read that – I would say that is slightly the superior book, surprisingly enough.

    1. Ahh…your ‘fragile heart’…in that case maybe not one for you! I must admit this one was just readable in the evenings without giving me sleepless nights! Worried I’d start seeing ghosts!! 😀😀

  4. delphini510

    A town wrapped in secrets. How true that is and somehow chilling.
    I feel the whole solution lies in the relationships around the missing girl.
    Great review again Annika.

    1. Mirja, you’re spot on! This one is all about relationships and their intermingled nature. A book that is built upon secrets from all sides – and even the reader! That’s what makes it so unusual and such a good read. One I think you’d like. 😀

    1. Thank you, Jill and this cover is terrific – it’s what caught my eye about the book straight way! 😀 So atmospheric but obviously tragic as the flowers are decaying…and therein lies the story!

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