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  • Brilliant read!

    Strong plot, some standout characterizations👦👧👧 4.5-5.0🌟 stars I find it difficult to believe this is the author's debut novel. I was totally caught up in the mystery of young Esther's disappearance on her way home from school on a hot November day in rural Australia. The small town setting made it completely plausible yet heartbreaking that so many were affected by the day Esther goes missing and its aftermath. And the author kept the tension and mystery going throughout, including numerous twists as the police investigation swerves from one path to the next. I was totally surprised by the result. Telling the story from so many points of view got a little repetitive, but each person involved brought a fresh piece to the puzzle. For me, the children were the best part of the tale, particularly llama-obsessed Ronnie, Esther's bosom buddy, and shy and afraid, misfit Lewis. Family dramas, including violence and criminal activity, all factor into the difficult investigation led by a visiting policewoman who has a few issues of her own. This town is rife with secrets and the hunt for Esther blows the lid off many. While I loved the plot, characters and Australian setting, I did find the format a bit odd. The bulk of the story only covers Friday through Tuesday but to tell it from various key players' perspectives, each day's chronology of events is related repeatedly. Wholeheartedly recommended. Thanks to Flatiron Books/Macmillan for sharing a complimentary advance copy of the book; this is my voluntary and honest opinion.

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