Staff Review: "All the Missing Girls"
28 year-old Nicolette Farrell reluctantly returns to her North Carolina hometown after a 10-year absence in order to renovate and sell her childhood home and care for her father, who is ailing from Alzheimer's. While back in town, Nic reconnects with her brother Daniel, with whom she has a strained relationship; and her high school boyfriend Tyler, whose mere presence dredges up memories from the past that Nic would rather forget.
Soon after Nic's arrival, Tyler's girlfriend, Annaleise, goes missing under circumstances that disturbingly mirror the disappearance of Nic's best friend, Corinne, 10 years earlier. Nic's world - and sanity- start to unravel after her father makes a cryptic comment about the disappearance, Tyler runs off, and she, along with her family and friends, become prime suspects.
Mystery and suspense writers use many tactics to keep readers engrossed in the story, from planting red herrings to final-chapter plot twists. In "All the Missing Girls," author Megan Miranda employs the unique method of telling the story backwards, from the day the case wraps up back to the day Nic arrives in town and Annaleise disappears. This not only keeps the reader guessing, but also allows them to slowly put the clues together, culminating in an action-packed denouement.