After seeing glowing reviews for this book everywhere I turned, I immediately moved it to the top of my reading list, and if I do say so myself, it was one of the smartest decision I’ve made all week!
Nicole Cutty and Megan McDonald are both high school seniors in the small town of Emerson Bay, North Carolina. When they disappear from a beach party one warm summer night, police launch a massive search. No clues are found, and hope is almost lost until Megan miraculously surfaces after escaping from a bunker deep in the woods.
A year later, the bestselling account of her ordeal has turned Megan from local hero to national celebrity. It’s a triumphant, inspiring story, except for one inconvenient detail: Nicole is still missing. Nicole’s older sister Livia, a fellow in forensic pathology, expects that one day soon Nicole’s body will be found, and it will be up to someone like Livia to analyze the evidence and finally determine her sister’s fate. Instead, the first clue to Nicole’s disappearance comes from another body that shows up in Livia’s morgue—that of a young man connected to Nicole’s past. Livia reaches out to Megan for help, hoping to learn more about the night the two were taken. Other girls have gone missing too, and Livia is increasingly certain the cases are connected.
But Megan knows more than she revealed in her blockbuster book. Flashes of memory are coming together, pointing to something darker and more monstrous than her chilling memoir describes. And the deeper she and Livia dig, the more they realize that sometimes true terror lies in finding exactly what you’ve been looking for.
I don’t think I need to ramble on about my love of all things forensic, so I’ll get right to it – Livia is a fellow in forensic pathology, and I loved the insight into forensics, this gave a great angle to the plot as not only was the missing persons case being investigated by the misper’s sister but also from the perspective of forensic pathology, collecting clues from the dead. Who’d have thought descriptions of autopsies could be so gripping! I was hooked to this thrilling plot, willing Livia on the whole time!
As Livia tries to solve the mystery of what happened to her sister, we also get the narrative of Megan – the media frenzy surrounding Megan and what she can remember from the abduction was crazy, so much so, the media no longer appeared to care about the still missing Nicole. Throughout Megan’s account, you are hoping she remembers because she may hold the clue to where Nicole is. I found Nicole to be an unlikeable character, we get a further narrative from Nicole pre-abduction, but I liked Livia so much, I wanted Nicole to be found safe and sound for her sister’s sake if nothing else.
And, wow, I must commend Donlea on his ability to misdirect the reader, if you love a book filled with red herrings, read this one! My brain hurt from trying to figure out who the culprit was, I don’t even know why I bothered [because as per usual, I was wrong!] I liked the ending of this one and thought it was extremely well thought out; I can’t expose my tiny frustration with this one without spoiling it so I will say, I needed one more sentence – Donlea how could you do that to me! If you’ve read this book, you’ll understand that instantly, if not, don’t worry, it’s not a negative thing, it’s a mark of an author that knows how to plot a story and leave you wanting more!
I highly recommend The Girl Who Was Taken, it’s not extremely fast-paced but the thrill came in the detail, Donlea’s ability to suck you into this mystery and have you desperate to know what happened.