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Ratings and Book Reviews (2 3 star ratings
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    Gripping, mysterious, and sinister!

    Missing Person is a captivating, slow-burning mystery that takes us into the lives of Shaun Ryan, a young Irish lad whose uncle has been missing for the past twenty years, a group of online amateur sleuths who take it upon themselves to identify and pursue new evidence in cold cases, and a ruthless killer who may or may not be willing to kill again. The writing is methodical and sharp. The characters are secretive, sly, and determined. And the plot told from multiple perspectives builds steadily as it twists, turns, and unravels all the behaviours, actions, motivations, relationships, and personalities within it. Missing Person is ultimately a novel about family, friendship, secrets, manipulation, jealousy, criminal fanatics, obsession, violence, and murder that does a nice job of reminding us that people aren’t always who they perceive themselves to be, especially online. And even though I would have loved a little more urgency and thrills it was still a dark, creepy, entertaining read.
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    A ripped from the headlines thriller!

    With the fairly recent explosion in the amount of information online, police aren’t the only ones investigating crimes. It is now possible to track killers, identify bodies, and to use familial DNA to catch rapists and serial killers without any specialized training and right from the comfort of home. There are blogs, forums and social media accounts dedicated purely to cold cases that law enforcement seems to have given up on. I can only imagine the relief to know what happened to your loved one, even if their story ends with Jane or John Doe. To be honest, my true crime loving heart is never happier than when a group of regular people take down a dangerous criminal. There are several obvious pitfalls with this and lives can be ruined if the finger is erroneously pointed at an innocent person. It could put their life in danger as vigilantes decide to “deal with” the killers/molester/ rapist and keep them from committing another crime. The true crime forum in Missing Person has faced this problem in the past with tragic consequences and now is dedicated solely to identifying unidentified bodies. This sounds fairly benign and safe for everyone but the case of The Boy in the Dress leads to all kinds of trouble, including contact with a serial killer. Fairly early on we meet the killer who has joined the forum as a way of keeping tabs on their investigation and misdirecting whenever possible. He gets a thrill from being so close to people actively looking for the killer in a murder that he knows he committed. With the anonymity of user names you never really know who you are talking to online and this can be used for evil. The online group in Missing Person are just normal people who find they are unknowingly battling wits with a serial killer. This book checked all my boxes for a great story; I love true crime, cat and mouse games led by a serial killer, and regular people as crime fighters. Much of the text is taken directly from the forum which makes it like reading an actual forum. In my opinion this would be completely awful as an audiobook but written it comes off as authentic and makes it all feel more real. These same conversations could be happening hundreds of times in real life in various forums and that brings the action right home. As someone who on occasion reads true crime forums the dialogue felt typical and true to life. When things went truly wrong it becomes a good cautionary tale but it also demonstrated how effective “armchair detectives” can be. The story drew me right in and even before the action moved from the forum and into the lives of the members it is super exciting. The online content was interspersed with short sections that peek into the lives of the forum members, including the killer. I found it all fascinating. I think this book will especially appeal to true crime junkies, but it will be exciting and engaging for anyone who likes a good thriller. I wouldn’t say it is a happy story but there is some humour to lighten the mood. The characters are interesting and seem like real people and the plot is basically ripped from the headlines. This story is so effective because it feels real and could essentially be real. I very much enjoyed this one and I highly recommend it to Murderinos everywhere. Thank you to Mulholland Books for providing an Electronic Advance Reader Copy via NetGalley for review.
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