Just Another Missing Person – Gillian McAllister

Just Another Missing Person by Gillian McAllister
Published by William Morrow on August 1, 2023
Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Buy on Amazon

From the author of the 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.

Wrong Place Wrong Time enraptured me. It sucked me in from the first page and never let go. Evidently, I wasn’t the only one, as it was a Goodreads nominee for Best Mystery & Thriller (2022) and a Reese’s Book Club pick. Just Another Missing Person by Gillian McAllister grabbed my attention immediately; it only took reading the first two sentences of the book’s synopsis. I was so excited for it, but it let me down.

The plot thrills. Julia Day is a police officer, committed to justice and doing what is right. Her career stands on her spotless reputation, but a cold case—a missing young woman—haunts her. Old fears resurrect when another woman (Olivia) goes missing. Julia Day soon finds herself at a crossroads: Follow the straight and narrow…or don’t. Because if she does, her family secret could be revealed. Circumstances force her to break her moral codes again and again, but it’s the best for her family. Or so she tells herself.

Just Another Missing Person features chapters written from three viewpoints: Julia, Emma, and Lewis. I won’t spoil who they are, but each reads differently. Even without the names at the beginnings of the chapters, I could tell them apart. At first, the connections seem not existent. As the tension builds, the three paths braid together, and every mystery of McAllister’s plot finally makes sense. She does a stellar job of keeping her readers guessing every step of the way. I could predict nothing, which—considering how many books I read—is hard to do at this point. Just Another Missing Person is exciting, complicated, and electrifying.

I am glad I read it, but I didn’t like elements of it. McAllister kept my attention—I didn’t even want to blink—until about 75% of the way through the book. At that point, my annoyance crept up, mostly over minor things. The big one: I got fed up with the characters asking each other if they were “okay” or “all right.” Of course, they are not all right. No one is all right. Additionally, the book’s written words lacked…gravity for me. Maybe that’s just McAllister’s writing style, I don’t know. But instead of making me feel I was hanging off a cliff with my fingers weakening, I was walking to the store. I lost the intensity.

Don’t get me wrong: Just Another Missing Person by Gillian McAllister would be the perfect subject for a thrilling movie. I can picture it easily, and I’d buy a ticket. McAllister surprised me with every chapter, and I’m glad to have read her newest work. But something felt lackluster. And that’s okay. It won’t keep me from anticipating her next novel, whenever that may be!