Wednesday 8 December 2021

The Girl In The Missing Poster by Barbara Copperthwaite @BCopperthwait @bookouture #TheGirlInTheMissingPoster #BookReview


24 June, 1994 – Nineteen-year-old Leila Hawkins runs from her father’s birthday party into the stormy night wearing her sister Stella’s long red coat. Some say she was crying, others swear they saw her get into a passing car. Nobody ever saw her again.

Present – This time every year, on the anniversary of that fateful night, Stella decorates the small seaside town she grew up in with pictures of her beautiful missing sister. But after twenty-five years, is it even worth hoping someone will come forward? Perhaps the upcoming documentary will spark people’s memories by reuniting all the guests who were there the night Leila went missing.

As old friends gather and long-buried secrets begin to surface, the last thing Stella ever expects is a direct response from someone claiming they took Leila. They want private details of Stella’s life in return for answers. But as the true events of the night of the party play out once again, who is lying? And who is next?

The Girl In The Missing Poster by Barbara Copperthwaite was published in February 2021 in paperback by Bookouture. My thanks to the author who sent my copy for review. 

I've read and enjoyed previous books from this author, she writes intelligently and carefully crafted stories that are always a little different. Whilst the 'missing woman' trope is certainly not a new one, in The Girl In The Missing Poster, the author puts a fresh spin on the plot device. Introducing a modern touch with the inclusion of transcripts from a planned documentary is a clever way to structure the story and I have to praise the creation of lead character Stella. She can be so annoying, yet she's driven and determined and the reader cannot help but urge her on. 

It is twenty-five years ago since Stella's twin sister Leila disappeared from a family party. The girls were just nineteen at the time and Leila has never been seen again. Although they were twins, Leila was the eldest by three minutes and for Stella it felt like losing a part of herself. Stella puts up missing posters, every year on the anniversary, all over the small seaside town where they grew up. It's just Stella now, and her dogs and she leads a life that's fairly solitary, always wondering what happened to Leila.

This year though, a production company has expressed an interest in making a documentary about Leila's disappearance. It's one of those human interest stories, and the twenty-fifth anniversary seems like the perfect time to do this. 

From here, the author is then able to tell the story in the dual time, using the documentary transcript and Stella's own current experiences to give the reader a wider view of what happened .... or what may have happened. It does keep the story fresh and interesting and Stella's voice and character is loud and at the forefront of the story. She's no nonsense, often blunt, but steely and determined. 

Suddenly, someone gets in touch. Someone who knows so much about what happened to Leila. Stella cannot let this go, despite the police involvement, she communicates with a potential murderer, putting herself in danger, but showing her strength of spirit throughout. 

Prepare yourself for an entertaining read, full of the unexpected and packed to the rafters with a host of interesting and intriguing characters, including three fabulous dogs who threaten to steal the whole story at times!  

Barbara is the Amazon, Kobo and USA Today bestselling author of psychological thrillers
Her writing career started in journalism, writing for national newspapers and magazines. During a career spanning over twenty years Barbara interviewed the real victims of crime - and also those who have carried those crimes out. She is fascinated by creating realistic, complex characters, and taking them apart before the readers' eyes in order to discover just how much it takes to push a person over a line.

Her first book, Invisible, was ‘totally gripping, and scarily believable’ according to Bella magazine. Its success was followed by Flowers For The Dead, which was the Sunday Mirror’s Choice Read, beating Lee Child’s latest offering. ‘Will have you looking over your shoulder and under your bed... Original, gripping, with a deep psychological impact,’ their review read.

The Darkest Lies came next, published by Bookouture, and became a USA Today bestseller. The follow-up, Her Last Secret, hit the Number 1 spot on Kobo. The Perfect Friend is a No 1 Kobo and Amazon best seller.

When not writing feverishly at her home in Birmingham, Barbara is often found walking her two dogs, Scamp and Buddy, or hiding behind a camera to take wildlife photographs.

To find out more about Barbara's novels, go to:

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