My Tuesday Thriller this week is the gripping read, The Missing, by Daisy Pearce. Let’s take a look at the cover and find out a bit more about the book.
Teenager Edie Hudson was nobody’s little darling, which made vanishing all too easy. Two decades later, she’s been forgotten by everyone except her mother, Samantha.
And the person who knows what happened to her.
Samantha has had a long time to remember, and to regret. Having seen how little her daughter mattered to the community in the months following her disappearance, she wonders if Edie was lost before she was even gone. Or was it guilt, not indifference, that made the locals turn a blind eye? When she meets Frances, she at last starts to hope for answers.
Because Frances is obsessed with the mystery too, after finding a photo of her husband with the girl who disappeared.
What really happened all those years ago? And just how dangerous could it be to find out?
Read an extract from The Missing:
Start with a joke, they’d told him, and so he did. It was the only joke he knew.
‘Why is a woman like a vet’s finger? Because they’re both stuck up bitches.’
The wedding speech went downhill from there. Six months later I gave birth to our daughter, and three days after that he left, moving back to his parents’ in Northampton. I never heard from him again. So for a time it was just me and Elizabeth, and now it is just me.
Her name was Elizabeth but I always called her Edie. Ee-dee, like the percussion of a heartbeat. The drum of her feet on the stairs that led to her bedroom. Ee-dee. It was a fanciful, wistful name, conjuring up images of beatniks and poetry and dappled sunlight on skin. My girl, my Edie, she was not like that. She was a dagger, a thorn, the upturned tack embedded in your heel. Never still, a loose-limbed nail-biter with thick dark hair and round eyes, permanently worried.
After Edie first went missing, I shook for days. I lay in bed, curled on my side with my knees tucked up to my chest, and I trembled so much it looked like a seizure. The doctor told me it was adrenaline, the body’s way of coping with the shock. As a kid I’d once witnessed a storm take out the power line of our house. The cable had crackled and snapped and twisted like a snake. My daddy had told me that if I touched it, I’d be barbecued meat. Lying there in my bed, the covers pooled around my feet, body jerking with shock, I felt that same frantic current pass through me.
I still have something from that time: a shopping list that I keep in a drawer. My handwriting is a spidery crawl across the page, almost without cohesion, sliding on a downward tilt. There is nothing steady about it, and it frightens me a little. That’s why I keep it. To remind me of how bad it was, those first days after she’d gone. My hands are still shaking now.
My pregnancy was a nine-month-long dash to the toilet, me bilious and woozy, barely able to hold anything down. Try ginger, they told me in the baby group, which I attended alone. Try peppermint. Try yoga. Try going and fucking yourselves, I thought, feeling the slow burn of bile rising in my throat.
When Edie was born, I was terrified. It wasn’t the blood or the way it seemed to coat everything with its coppery odour. I wasn’t afraid of the pain either, not even when it felt as though my spine were filled with crushed glass.
I was afraid of her. The baby.
The midwife who passed her to me whispered, ‘She’s beautiful’, told me she was a perfect little girl, but I wasn’t able to see it. I was terrified of Edie; the weight of her, glossy and slick as a baby seal, coated in a waxy vernix. She opened her mouth and instead of the primal howl I had been expecting, she began to mewl like a kitten, tiny fingers clenching and unclenching, her plump face crimson and crushed-looking, irritable. I lay back on the pillows feeling hollowed out. In that moment I wished I could go back in time and undo everything, starting with Mark Hudson and his stupid promises to pull out of me, delivered with his fuggy, alcohol-laced breath. To a time before then even, to ever meeting him, to ever going to the bus stop on that rainy Tuesday, trying to hide behind my Just Seventeen magazine and risking sly peeks at him over the pages. Imagine how I feel now, looking back at myself, at the young woman in the past, this new mother, thinking that I wished I could undo it all.
Talk about a life sentence.
Wow! If that’s got you gripped, you can purchase the book here:
Daisy Pearce was born in Cornwall but currently lives in Sussex. After spells living in London and Brighton, Daisy had her short story ‘The Black Prince’ published in One Eye Grey magazine. Another short story, ‘The Brook Witch’, was performed onstage at the Small Story Cabaret in Lewes in 2016. She has also written articles about mental health online. In 2015, The Silence won a bursary with The Literary Consultancy, and later that year Daisy also won the Chindi Authors Competition with her short story ‘Worm Food’. Both ‘The Silence’ and ‘The Missing’ were published in 2020, the weirdest year on record. Specialist subjects include: ghosts, poltergeists and the perfect red lipstick.
Thanks for dropping by to tell us about your book, Daisy. Wishing you lots of sales!
Published by Bookouture on 23rd November. Now on preorder: Amazon: https://geni.us/B08GKRRPWHCover