Book Review: "Missing Persons" by Clare O'Donahue

Summary from The cause of death is "undetermined," but the cops peg Chicago television producer Kate Conway as the main suspect when her soon-to-be ex-husband, Frank, is found dead. To make matters worse-and weirder- Frank's new girlfriend suddenly wants to be friends. Happy for the distraction, Kate throws herself into a new work assignment for the television program Missing Persons: the story of Theresa Moretti, a seemingly angelic young woman who disappeared a year earlier. All Kate wants is a cliché story and twenty-two minutes of footage, but when the two cases appear to overlap, Kate needs to work fast before another body turns up-her own.

What do you do when someone you love goes missing and is presumed dead? You get on one of those missing persons TV shows and try to get attention about the case is what you do. That's what Kate's job is as she interviews people who are going through these experiences. Unfortunately for her, she then starts living out the stories of what people are telling her. What then follows is one heck of a good suspense/mystery story.

In the beginning of the story, I was a bit annoyed with how Kate would manipulate the people she was interviewing in order to get a good story. I felt it was cold and heartless to try to make them cry or show more emotion in order to get good ratings. It made me think a lot about how shows like Dateline or 48 Hours do these types of interviews and got me thinking twice about how I view them. There is a lot talked about in the story of how crime shows like Missing Persons are written, filmed, edited and portrayed.

This book is more like two mysteries in one as there are two cases that the reader must uncover the story behind. There is the disappearance of a young woman that Kate is working on for her job and then there is the mysterious death of her ex-husband. While they seem to be unconnected, Kate finds that investigating one case helps in learning more about the other.
Both stories involved digging deep to find out what really happened.

As I said, I disliked Kate's character in the beginning of story, but as the book progressed I became more sympathetic towards her.
I agreed with her reaction to her ex-husband's girlfriend wanting to be friends with her after his death. It was just plain odd and seemed a bit unnerving. I think it's sad that things ended up the way they did with Kate and Frank but I did like how his parents (well his dad) treated her even after their separation.

I really liked O'Donahue's previous Quilt mysteries and this one is just as top notch if not better. The writing is crisp and the mystery and suspense are well done. I wouldn't call this really a cozy mystery but overall it's a good solid whodunnit. I am looking forward to reading more books in the series.

Missing Persons by
Clare O'Donahue is published by Plume (2011)

This ARC was provided by the publisher


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