On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on The Girl in the Missing Poster by Barbara Copperthwaite.
24 June, 1994 – Nineteen-year-old Leila Hawkins runs from her father’s birthday party into the stormy night wearing her sister Stella’s long red coat. Some say she was crying, others swear they saw her get into a passing car. Nobody ever saw her again.
Present – This time every year, on the anniversary of that fateful night, Stella decorates the small seaside town she grew up in with pictures of her beautiful missing sister. But after twenty-five years, is it even worth hoping someone will come forward? Perhaps the upcoming documentary will spark people’s memories by reuniting all the guests who were there the night Leila went missing.
As old friends gather and long-buried secrets begin to surface, the last thing Stella ever expects is a direct response from someone claiming they took Leila. They want private details of Stella’s life in return for answers. But as the true events of the night of the party play out once again, who is lying? And who is next?
The Girl in the Missing Poster is the first book by Barbara Copperthwaite, which I have read, and I’m definitely going to be catching up on her previous novels. This is a twisty, intriguing psychological thriller that follows Leila’s search as she desperately tries to uncover what happened to her twin sister, Stella, who vanished twenty-five years ago. She fears that this time it’s the last chance she’ll have of finding out what happened, and she is willing to do anything to get to the truth.
This book is more of a slow burner, but the tension certainly gathers pace as we reach the conclusion. Barbara tells parts of the story through transcripts from a Netflix documentary, and I thought this was really clever. By chance, Leila gets talking to Euan, a documentary producer for Netflix. He speaks to her about producing a documentary to try and generate new leads in her sister’s case. Stella agrees, but what she isn’t prepared for is the number of nasty comments it creates on social media, something she hasn’t had much experience with before. But then someone gets in contact with Leila, and they may know what happened to her sister.
Barbara definitely held my interest as she reveals more background information into the investigation of Leila’s disappearance. Through the transcripts, we read interviews from police officers involved in the case as they explain why they did what they did. It made for really interesting reading. I often watch true-crime documentaries on Netflix, so it did feel as though I was reading about a real life case. I did like how Barbara built on Leila’s relationship with Euan; although I did think as I was reading it, I couldn’t trust any of the characters who were close to her.
I really wanted to know what had happened to Stella, and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough as Barbara takes us closer to the truth. I really liked how she pulled everything together. There are some jaw dropping revelations as the person responsible for Stella’s disappearance is revealed.
The Girl in the Missing Poster is a really well written psychological thriller. It’s a complex mystery, and Barbara Copperthwaite cleverly pulls everything together. Now I can’t wait to catch up on Barbara’s previous books.
Publication date: 23rd February 2021
Print length: 346 pages
The Girl in the Missing Poster is available to buy: