Thursday, May 05, 2016

Unhurried Psychological Thriller Complex, Compelling

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Maud Horsham knows something's wrong with her memory.  The 82-year-old often can't recall the names of everyday items.  She goes to the store and forgets why she's there.  Even the notes she leaves for herself make little sense anymore.  There is one thing, however, that Maud is sure of: Elizabeth Markham—her neighbor and only real friend—is missing.  Positive that something sinister has happened to Elizabeth, Maud pleads for help from the police, her daughter, even Elizabeth's temperamental son.  All to no avail.  No one takes an old woman with dementia seriously. 

It's not the first time Maud's world has been rocked by the sudden disappearance of someone she loves.  In 1946, her older sister vanished without a trace.  As the two disappearances become entangled in Maud's mind, she grows even more confused.  The answers to both mysteries are inside her head somewhere—if only she can remember.  

Determined to figure out what happened to her friend, Maud mines her fractured memories, discovering in them some very disturbing truths.  Can she hold on to her discoveries long enough to save Elizabeth?  What about her sister?  Will Maud be the one to save the missing women?  Or will the secrets of the past remain hidden inside the recesses of a cloudy memory that is slowly, slowly slipping away ...

Elizabeth Is Missing, a debut novel by English author Emma Healey, is a complex psychological thriller.  A quiet, unhurried one, yes, but also a twisty, riveting mystery.  While the story offers plenty of suspense and intrigue, the most compelling thing about Elizabeth Is Missing is the terrifying issue at its heart—memory loss.  Healey, whose grandmother suffers from dementia, brings the horror of the disease to life in such a vivid, heartbreaking way that it's impossible not to empathize with Maud and all of her real-life counterparts.  Although it tells a sad, scary tale, I enjoyed this compelling, well-crafted debut novel.  If you like a puzzling, mind-bending story, give this one a go.  It's definitely worth the read.

(Readalikes:  Reminded me of Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for language (a dozen or so F-bombs plus milder expletives)

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

3 comments:

  1. I am always looking for a good thriller which I think is actually hard to find. Plus I always find memory loss interesting in a book. This definitely sounds like one I would enjoy - Great review!

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  2. This sounds SOOOOO up my alley!! You always review books I haven't seen talked about as much :) So thank you - I've found a couple I wanna read that I wouldn't have without your blog!

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  3. Well it does sound intriguing albeit sad. I'll have to keep my eyes open for it. I'm think a library trip is in my near future.

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