Such has been my addiction to Christmas TV this year – along with a passion for The Crown – that I haven’t read as many books as I’d hoped to over the break. But I do have a few reviews to catch up on, and my first is for The Missing Twin by Alex Day, published by Killer Reads for kindle in August 2017 and in paperback in October 2017. My thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for my reading e-copy.
A missing girl…a secret to be uncovered.
Edie and her identical twin Laura have always been best friends. So when Laura surprises Edie at the Mediterranean holiday resort where she’s working, Edie can’t wait for the partying to start! But then, Laura vanishes without a trace…
At the same time, in a country on the other side of the sea, Fatima and her twin daughters set out on a harrowing journey that only the strongest – and luckiest – survive.
Edie and Fatima’s lives are worlds apart, but now, their paths are set to collide, with devastating consequences. When Fatima hovers on the brink of survival, Edie must risk her own life to save her, and finally discover the truth about her missing sister.
It’s no secret that Alex Day is the alter ego of Rose Alexander, whose Under an Amber Sky I enjoyed so much when I read it back in May (you’ll find my review here). It would have been wrong of me to start reading this one expecting it to be a similar book – when an author chooses to write under a different name there’s usually a really good reason, and this was a totally different type of book. In fact, I really take my hat off to the author – it’s a real achievement to write well in two such very different genres. Did I enjoy this book as much? I’ll be honest and say I didn’t – but that’s just a matter of personal taste and preference, and there was still a great deal about it that impressed me.
My first disappointment was that there was no real sense of place about the resort setting of Edie’s story – I picked up Adriatic, mention of Kotor, the Eastern European names, but I always do like to understand the geography. And then there was Edie herself, who I really disliked from outset. Her approach to life, her personal morals, her attraction to a man who was plainly using her, all made me rather indifferent to what happened to her – and her twin was so lightly drawn before her disappearance that I really didn’t care much about her either. I did understand the handling in the light of the story that unfolds, but it just wasn’t for me.
But I found this very much a book of two halves – Fatima’s story was so very well done, emotional, horrifying, with a stunning depth of detail. The death and destruction, the harrowing attempts to cross the border, the world of traffickers and people smugglers, the episodes at sea, the threat from those close to her – all were superbly handled, and remain vividly in the memory, with really graphic, detailed and well-drawn imagery. And as the stories converged, the build up of tension, excitement and danger was thoroughly excellent: and while I’m often not the world’s biggest fan of an advertised “killer twist”, that was very well handled too.
I read very few thrillers these days, and despite its many positives – which include every element of Fatima’s story – I think this just wasn’t right book, right timing for me. It was good to discover Alex Day, and I’m sure others will love that side of the author – but I think I’ll stick with the Rose Alexander I so enjoyed.
About the author
Alex Day is a writer, teacher, parent and dreamer who has been putting pen to paper to weave stories for as long as she can remember. The Missing Twin is her first psychological thriller but she is a bestselling author of fiction under the name Rose Alexander. Inspired by a real pair of identical twin girls, The Missing Twin also draws on Alex’s experience of teaching newly arrived refugees, migrants and asylum seekers in a London comprehensive school.