She's Not There; Joy Fielding
Ballantine Books & Brilliance Audio - 2016
To celebrate 10 years of marriage Caroline Shipley's husband Hunter, an attorney, surprises her with a family trip to a posh resort in Mexico. The couple has 2 young daughters Michelle, 5, and Samantha, 2. Two other couples, family and friends are also there to celebrate.
On the evening of their anniversary dinner celebration there is a mixup with the child watch services at the hotel and the couple finds themselves without a sitter. Despite this they decide to go to dinner in the hotel restaurant which is directly below their room. They agree to check on the sleeping girls every 30 minutes while they dine. Things go horribly wrong and 2 year old Samantha goes missing without a trace. A parent's nightmare and the guilt which follows torments the parents, especially Caroline. Each anniversary that passes since the disappearance the old hurts resurface. New stories and occasional leads have failed to find their daughter.
On the fifteenth anniversary since Samantha has gone missing a new article hits the news with photos of what Samantha might look like today at 17. Soon after, the phone rings and the girl at the other end asks for Caroline and says, “I think my real name is Samantha. I think I’m your daughter.” Caroline must find out if this can possibly be true.
What follows is a tension filled psychological thriller that held my interest through and through. There are a lot of emotions and accusations running through this story. Definitely character driven story, I was sympathetic and sometimes angered by the behavior of Michelle, the older daughter who was often difficult and disrespectful. The story starts in the present with the phone call and soon the chapters alternate between the present and the past to show how the lives of the family members were affected.
Although there were a few unlikely things that happened in this story, it was still a fast paced thriller. The audio book, read by Tanya Eby was excellent. Fans of psychological thrillers should try this one.