Pros: Fantastically strong characters, situations, and story; incredible emotions and tension
Rating: 5 out of 5
Taige Branch has visions—painful visions of people in trouble. Sometimes she can save them. Sometimes she can’t. She doesn’t want attention and hates that people see her as a freak, but she can’t ignore the need to help those she can. She thought she’d always be alone, separated by her inability to block out the thoughts of those she touches, until she met Cullen—sweet, loving Cullen, who loved her as she was and whose emotions didn’t threaten to drown her when they touched. She gave her heart to him, and he broke it. When his mother died, he never forgave Taige for not preventing it.
Years later, both Taige and Cullen have changed. Taige assists the FBI in locating missing children, going through hell over and over in an attempt to undo what can never be undone. Cullen is a widowed father who can’t ever forget the only woman he truly loved, and whose daughter Jilly shares a mysterious gift with Taige—one that has finally given him an insight into just what it must be like for her.
The two of them still see each other in their dreams, but they don’t meet again until brought together by tragedy: Cullen’s daughter is missing, and only Taige can find her. Because Taige has been dreaming of this particular little girl since before Jilly was even born.
The Missing is not a romance of sweetness and light. It is not an easy read. It’s dark, and its characters face a great deal of pain. If you’re looking for a pick-me-up, look elsewhere. But if you’re looking for a suspense that can rip your heart open and leave you raw, this is that book.
I opened the first pages of this book when I needed to pass some time before we ran errands. That was a miscalculation. Shiloh Walker is so adept at sweeping the reader into the story that I immediately fell under her spell. I had a great deal of difficulty setting the book aside to run errands, and even as we were getting groceries into the house I was stealing glances at paragraphs while holding the door open for my husband.
Unlike so many romance relationships, this one makes sense at every step even as it breaks your heart. I never wanted to roll my eyes at a character’s stupidity—yeah, the characters make bad decisions, but they make bad decisions that make perfect sense. Their feelings for each other make sense. There was never that feeling that misunderstandings or anger were being used to artificially stretch out the tension. And for that matter, there was no need for it: the plot involving missing children and a serial killer provided plenty of tension.
The characters are absolutely fantastic, from the leads to the side characters. The setting is wonderful. The depiction of psychic abilities is self-consistent and logical, unlike some I could mention, and never felt like a plot device.
If you enjoy suspense/thriller/romance novels, heavy on the suspense, then I highly recommend Shiloh Walker’s The Missing. This is a tense and heart-wrenching book that gets under your skin in a flash.
[Usual adult material warning: sizzling explicit sex scenes!]