When Caroline and Hunter take their two young daughters on vacation in Mexico to celebrate their anniversary, they never thought that a happy moment would be marred by tragedy. When their babysitter cancels, Hunter convinces his wife to leave their two and five year old alone while they’re dining at the hotel restaurant directly below their room. The unthinkable happens when they return to their room to find their 2 year old is missing.
A story spanning the course of over a decade, She’s Not There follows the aftermath of the disappearance of Samantha Shipley. Jumping time, the narrative gets pieced together while present-day Caroline is reeling from a shocking phone call she has received. After years of following false leads and dashed hopes, she answers the phone one day to a young girl who claims she is the missing daughter. The momentum from this moment propels the story along and I found myself getting caught up in the family’s hopes and suspicions alike.
Fielding succeeds in telling a psychological tale that makes readers question and second guess what’s going on. While I did have some of my suspicions confirmed, I was left pleasantly surprised at what I didn’t see coming. I also found the dynamics of the characters very compelling and, especially with Caroline and her elder daughter, the tension between those two felt so tangible, like it could jump off the pages.
Last year’s Someone Is Watching was my first Joy Fielding novel, and while I liked that one, I really enjoyed this one. I couldn’t put this book down. This is great for fans of mysteries and psychological thrillers, though everyone I have recommended this to so far, I do give them a warning to make sure they’re comfortable with stories about young children going missing.