Goodreads summary of Just Another Missing Person by Gillian McAllister (review below): From the author of Reese’s Book Club Pick and the New York Times bestseller Wrong Place Wrong Time comes a new heart-stopping thriller in which a missing-person case unravels deeper, darker secrets that lead a detective to an impossible moral choice.
22-year-old Olivia has been missing for one day…and counting. She was last seen on CCTV entering a dead-end alley. And not coming back out again.
Julia, the detective heading up the search for Olivia, thinks she knows what to expect. A desperate family, a ticking clock, and long hours away from her husband and daughter. But she has no idea just how close to home this case is going to get.
Because the criminal at the heart of the disappearance has something she never expected. His weapon isn’t a gun or a knife: it’s a secret. Her worst one. And her family’s safety depends on one thing: Julia must NOT find out what happened to Olivia – and must frame somebody else for her murder.
If you find her, you will lose everything. What would you do?
This clever and endlessly surprising thriller is laced with a smart look at family and motherhood and cements Gillian McAllister as a major talent in the world of suspense and a master of creating ethical dilemmas that show just how murky the distinction between right and wrong can be.
Just Another Missing Person By Gillian Mcallister- Review Disclaimer
Here I go again. This is a disclaimer that I seem to be the lone wolf in my disdain for Gillian McAllister’s latest, Just Another Missing Person. So, go into this knowing that there are many who LOVED this book.
#1 – There Are Multiple Identities, And Then There Is Utter Confusion.
Aaaand… #2- There Are Twists, And Then There Are Migraines.
My post my rules. Reasons 1 and 2 go hand in hand, so they are together.
Let me get this out of the way. I’m trash for books that have so many identities I’m not sure who I am by the end. Just as I love books that bank hard to the right when you think it is going left. For instance, see my review of The First to Lie by Hank Phillippi Ryan for proof. I love books where you might have bits and pieces figured out, but the big picture twists? They slap you in the face and, most importantly, fit into the confines of the story. To be fair, Just Another Missing Person’s twists all fit within the story. They make sense. I won’t argue that piece.
Here’s what I will argue. At some point, this book became so completely convoluted that I couldn’t keep up with the identities or twists. It isn’t the audiobook’s fault. It is labeled by POV and narrated well. This is all about the story. Whether it is the structure and how it is laid out or how the reveals are, well, revealed, it caused me mass confusion.
See, I wasn’t even here because I didn’t know the equations to figure out.
And when the answers to the equations that I didn’t even know existed were revealed? I didn’t know what they answered.
Dually, within the story, banking so hard to the left that I drove off a cliff, the character identities piled up into a mess. And again, I love identities within identities. So, for me to complain about characters having a multitude of identities and motives (known and unknown)? There is a serious problem. I was with the story for the first half, and then I just… lost. Completely lost. I even tried relistening to chapters, but nope. I couldn’t tell why the reveals mattered or connected (most of them, anyway). Part of me thinks there was just too much story in this story. Gillian McAllister just tried too hard.
I guess if you want to think of this positively, it made the book a complete surprise. You won’t guess anything. But, to me, this was not in a good way.
#3 That’s The Cherry On The Parfait
Here’s what I do understand. Without going into spoiler territory, let’s just say that Just Another Missing Person wraps up so nicely, so conveniently, that it might as well have been a half-hour sitcom. As I got towards the end, well, at least something has to not work out for someone. Yet, it is all so perfect that it is saccharine. I wish I could say more, but spoilers and all. Plus, some plot lines and characters ended up never getting a real payoff. Blek.
Thank you to William Morrow and HarperCollins Audio for an advanced audio of Just Another Person by Gillian McAllister- published August 1st, 2023.
#4 If It Acts Like A Sitcom And Talks Like I Sitcom
Remember how I just said it could have been a half-hour sitcom? Truly that isn’t just because of how the book ended. It should have been a half-hour sitcom because it was so repetitive. And repetitive is always bad, but repetitive confusion? If that isn’t the saltiest salt in the biggest of wounds. Cut down the repetition, and this book would have benefited from being shorter. Hell, maybe it would have been less confusing.
#5 The Pacing… What Even Is Pacing?
This plays into the repetitive part of Just Another Missing Person. The first 60% or so plod along like a tortoise. And a lot of that is due to the repetitive nature of the background information given. Then, and here is the kicker, Gillian McAllister goes into ludicrous speed after that first 60% or so. Reveal after reveal starts flying (those that I even recognized as reveals) to the point that, going back to #3, the ending is lackluster at best.
The pacing isn’t helped by how the POVs repeat/mimic each other rather than playoff each other.
There are my reasons to keep you from reading Just Another Person by Gillian McAllister. Have you read it? Do you agree? Disagree? Bring it on.