Five years after penning her debut novel, the award-winning Girl, Missing, Sophie McKenzie revisits the characters in a long-awaited sequel Sister, Missing.
Set two years on, Lauren is now 16 and holidaying with her birth mother Annie and sisters, Shelby and Madison. Lauren’s birth father Sam has died nine months previously, bringing Lauren closer to her youngest sister Madison, while relations with Shelby are more than a little strained. When Lauren takes Madison to the beach on Easter Bank Holiday Monday, she loses sight of her sister momentarily, and the eight-year-old girl mysteriously vanishes.
Action girl Lauren and boyfriend Jam (also making a reappearance from the earlier book) are subsequently thrown headlong into a kidnap plot of cross and double-cross as they try and recover Madison in exchange for her mother’s recently-acquired fortune. In a treacherous display of sibling rivalry, sulky Shelby tries to alert the police to the ransom exchange and tensions between the two sisters are cranked up to breaking point.
As in Girl, Missing, McKenzie’s Lauren finds herself in a world where adults can rarely be trusted or taken at face value, and where children are pawns in the adults’ greedy games. Even the good ones – birth mother Annie, for instance – fall to pieces at the first sign of a crisis, and it’s left to Lauren and co to leap into action and try to rescue the sister she adores (despite the obvious difficulties with the sister she doesn’t).
Like the best of Sophie McKenzie’s escapist page-turners, this high-octane thriller is powered by pure adrenaline as the plot snakes back and forth, and the teenagers battle valiantly to outsmart the unreliable adults. Will readers guess the ending? I’d say not, and they’ll enjoy the ride all the more for that.