Having extracted herself and her children from a horrifically abusive marriage several years previously, Maisie is just barely hanging on by her finger nails to support her two children, her dementia afflicted mother, and herself. Maisie is both primary caregiver and breadwinner for her little family, and she works three jobs, manages her mother's ever deteriorating condition, and raises her children. Then one New Year's day a second chance at love comes knocking while unbeknownst to her, Maisie's son, Jeremy, vanishes. Jeremy's disappearance threatens to upset the delicate balance of the family, while simultaneously torpedoing Maisie's second chance at love and plunging them all into unspeakable tragedy the likes of which the family narrowly avoided right before Maisie finally left her husband.
Initially Valerie, Maisie's headstrong, attitude ridden, young daughter, deliberately hides information from the police and her mother, such as the fact that Jeremy never made it to school the day after New Year's and lying about his comings and goings the day of his disappearance. All of which hampers Maisie firmly establishing the fact of his disappearance. As the hours and days unspool following the disappearance of Jeremy and his friend, Rave, events and emotions spiral out of control and get far worse than anyone initially predicts. Meanwhile, the police struggle to find clues that will lead to the boys' whereabouts and solve the mystery of where and why they disappeared.
Ultimately this story is framed as one of healing and personal growth. There is a feeling of dread/foreboding throughout the book that starts from its first pages thanks to the early reveal of Jeremy's fate. And sometimes that makes this book hard to read. However, it is a good book--and if you've read McPartlin's other novels, you will definitely want to read this one.
--Reviewed by Ms. Angie