Let’s just be clear. When I posted my WWW yesterday (now updated) Missing, Presumed Dead by Emma Berquist was under “What am I currently reading,” because I was about 75% done and was working on the review for An Illusion of Thieves (that review is coming next). Then a funny thing happened.
Thank you to Greenwillow Books and Edelweiss for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Is it a book you jump up and down about yelling and screaming? No. But that is because it is a creepy, hazy kind of slow lull that draws you in and seeps into your bones. When you finish, you close it as if just having woke from a dream. If I was a sleep walker I could see myself walking up to strangers dazed and confused babbling incoherently while nudging it at them, begging them to follow down this same journey.
It is trite but I will say something I’ve said before and surely will say again. I will tell you enough to create the bait that hooks you. I will reel you in. I will not tell you anything more.
Lexi has the ability to see, in great graphic detail, how and when people will die if she merely brushes against them. With a power like hers, she has one of the most nerve grinding, exhausting and system spending jobs possible: she works at a nightclub.
Packed, loud and rowdy, Lexi spends night after night in crowds of people lonely as if she was the only person in the club. Touch brings terror, horror and continuing morose. Told to keep this devastating ability to herself, Lexi lives day in and day out in isolation. Despite trying to avoid all touch, Lexi accidentally brushes against someone at the club and sees their petrifying end. Soon she finds out the girl has gone missing and is determined to find her, which she does
Problem is that unlike, most ghosts, Jane doesn’t remember anything about her demise. She is bewildered and doesn’t understand what has happened, why she is dead. Lexi promises to help her find out what happened to her.
Back at Lexi’s is roommate and also ghost, Trevor, who died in a car accident. He attempts to help Jane adjust to her knew circumstances while working with Lexi to solve the mystery. The contrasting imagery of Trevor and Jane poignantly aligns with how they have, or have not, adjusted to the afterlife.
Trevor explains the life after as one where ghosts are have control over form and feeling through an energy flow. While Jane is still lacking control and understanding, Berquist paints her as ghastly, having met such a violent end with eyes clouded over and wounds oozing. She is death.
Berquist isn’t done just yet. Just when you’ve settled into this grey area between life and death. Feeling hard for Lexi whose life of solitude has left her closed off to the world. Lexi who can touch and feel ghosts… can she actually fall for one? Could Jane fall for her? And is this really a good idea?
This is nothing of what I expected from Missing, Presumed Dead. And that doesn’t even count all the things that come after what I’ve mentioned and all the things in between what I did tell you. And there is a lot. In giving nothing that is expected, Berquist gave the paranormal genre a new angle that I didn’t know it needed.
It is darker, it is heavy. This isn’t a light read for the faint of heart. But if you are willing and able to take the journey, it will be one that stays with you long after the story ends.