I've always enjoyed the books written by the team of Nicci French, and so I expected this solo book by Nicci Gerrard (one half of the Nicci French writing team) to be pretty much in the same vein. It was and it wasn't. 'Missing Persons' is the story of the Hopkins family, Mum Isabel, Dad Felix, daughter Tamsin, son Johnny, and daughter Mia. They are a typical family unit, with all the trials and tribulations that most of us experience. Tamsin, the oldest daughter, is overweight and unhappy. Mia, the youngest, is thin and being bullied at school. Johnny.........well, Johnny is perfect. He is a kind, caring, loving boy, who fulfills his parents dreams by going to university. Isabel finds it hard to let him go, but she does, and speaks to him constantly. Felix is more reserved, their marriage is settled into middle-aged contentment, and things are good. Isabel has her two close friends, Jenny and Leah, and the three of them put the world to rights on their girlie nights out. But then Isabel can't get in touch with Johnny. He doesn't answer his phone, there is no word from him, and panic sets in. Johnny is 18 years old, an adult, and if he disappears - well, there isn't a great deal that anyone can do. Suddenly, the world comes crashing down for the Hopkins family.They have to consider their greatest fear - that something terrible has happened to Johnny, and that he is dead. Isabel refuses to believe that this could be so, she would KNOW if her son were dead. Isabel and Felix search frantically, enlisting the help of Johnny's friends, and finding that they really didn't know their son as well as they thought. Is it possible to love TOO much - to smother someone, to drive them to acts of desparation?
This is a very deep book in my opinion, quite uncomfortable at times, and giving plenty of food for thought. As a parent, we love our children, and want the best for them. This book shows that what WE think is best, isn't always what THEY think is best, and how hard it can be to live up to other people's expectations. It's a very good story, extremely well written, as you would expect from Nicci Gerrard, and I plan to read more of her solo work. Highly recommended.