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Missing Person


Missing Person

On a drizzly Irish day, Shaun Ryan locks up the bookshop where he works and heads off to visit his mother’s grave like normal. But on this day, a man approaches Shaun at the gravesite. He is scruffy looking and reeks of alcohol, which makes Shaun more than a little wary of him. He calls himself Johnny, and claims he was Shaun’s uncle Teddy’s best friend. More to the point, he asks if Shaun really believes that Teddy died in a car accident. That has been the story the family told for the past 20 years. Of course Shaun believes it. Johnny scoffs and suggests he ask more questions, because Teddy didn’t die. He took himself off to New York City. Stunned and a little disbelieving, Shaun does ask his family, only to be confronted with evasion and terse warnings to just let it be.

"Told in an alternating format of regular prose and web postings, MISSING PERSON breaks the mold on thrillers."

Shaun has always been a quiet, unassuming fellow, but this mystery lights a fire in him. There is no way that he can just let it be. So he starts digging, his efforts leading him eventually to a group of websleuths who run, a website concerned with matching missing persons and unidentified bodies. Naturally, this is not what Shaun had hoped to find when he set out. The site’s admin, Chris Guzman, sympathizes with Shaun, but tells him that she believes the victim in a case they’ve been working on, the "Boy in the Dress," might be his uncle. The reason for Shaun’s family saying Teddy is dead now begins to dawn on him. For the Ryan clan, admitting their relative is gay might be simply too hard to stomach. For Teddy, it might be what got him killed.

In order to find out the truth, though, Shaun puts aside his trepidations and works with Chris and her team to trace what happened to the Boy. The members of seem to have well-placed connections and clever ideas. Their methods for ferreting out the answers they want generally pay big dividends. They are a dedicated lot, work hard and get results. Where does their superb success come from? Could it be that one of them has inside information? Does a member have actual firsthand knowledge?

Told in an alternating format of regular prose and web postings, MISSING PERSON breaks the mold on thrillers. Author Sarah Lotz is off and running from the day in the graveyard that Shaun learns about his uncle to the day that the killer is unmasked. During that timeline, every page reveals a new nugget of Teddy’s life --- and another clue to his death. There are many quirky characters, with their online usernames, which can lead a reader to want a chart for reference. But as soon as you get to know them individually, with their unique personalities, you’ll want to step into their lives and learn more about each one of them.

MISSING PERSON is not just about finding Teddy and what happened to him. It’s also about the cast of players here. Every one of them has a burning need for growth. Some achieve it. Others --- well, read and see.

Reviewed by Kate Ayers on September 13, 2019

Missing Person
by Sarah Lotz

  • Publication Date: September 3, 2019
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Mulholland Books
  • ISBN-10: 0316396648
  • ISBN-13: 9780316396646