Monday, April 16, 2012

Convergence of the Twain

Beautifully written and thick with dread, Among the Missing alternates between the lives of three people in Scotland: Ron, an ex-con; Silvie, an illegal immigrant; and an unnamed woman tourist.

Ron had been a bus driver until he fell asleep at the wheel and crashed, causing the deaths of six passengers. After his release from prison he drives around Great Britain, alone and friendless, hoping to somehow redeem himself. Silvie is in Scotland illegally, living in a dilapidated trailer by a river with her husband Stefan and their young daughter, Anna. The unnamed tourist is a 42 year old newlywed on holiday with her husband Cole, a man who soon reveals himself to be totally self-centered. When she tells him she is expecting a baby, he demands she choose between the baby or him.

While eating alone in a roadside café, the woman discovers a slip of paper with a message, an offer to buy a car, no questions asked. Although her car is a rental, she grasps at this note as a way out of her predicament. Hours after she sells the car, she learns that a bridge collapsed and 20 cars plunged into the cold river, including hers. With money in her pocket and an unloving husband who thinks she is dead, she decides to reinvent herself as Annabelle. But she can't forget the man who bought her car--Stefan--and wants to find out if he and his daughter survived.

A series of desperate decisions ties Annabelle's life inexorably with those of Silvie and Ron. As bits of the truth are revealed, grief and madness take them down a gyrating path of horror.

Author Morag Joss received the Crime Writers Association's Silver Dagger Award for Half Broken Things, and was nominated for an Edgar Award for The Night Following. Among the Missing is her seventh novel.

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