Review: Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner

Title: Missing, Presumed
Author: Susie Steiner
Pages: 368
Genre: Mystery
Source: Free ARC from Random House

Rating: B-

Note: As stated under the Source (above), I received this book for free from Random House via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review (and trust me, honest is always what you’ll get).

Review: A good, well-written mystery with an unexpected ending. I enjoyed it, but didn’t love it. And I think that has mostly to do with my distaste for the main character. It’s hard enough to deal with an unlikeable main character, but “unlikeable” doesn’t really cover it. I didn’t respect her. She wasn’t grown up enough or emotionally together enough, to be doing police work. I’m all for relatable, less than perfect, “cops are people too” kinds of characters, but I don’t think this woman could pass a psych profile. Honestly, there were times when I wanted to wring her neck.

That said, an interesting aspect of the book is how often I smiled or laughed, which I truly would never expect reading a book of this genre. Out of nowhere something would come up in a scene that was just so human and honest, so relatable, or that was one of those “human things we don’t discuss in polite company”, and though they seemed out of place, I enjoyed them immensely.

The mystery itself was quite clever. While there were a few discrete bread crumbs sprinkled about, there weren’t enough to reassemble the loaf all on your own.

While I appreciate the desire to write Manon as a fallible and flawed human, perhaps to break with the usual tropes of this genre, I feel it went a step too far. Perhaps if Manon was more brilliant at her job, her personal failings would have been more palatable. But overall, she had very few redeeming qualities.

Setting aside my dislike of Manon, the mystery itself was enjoyable. And it is entirely possible that others will find the main character to be less off-putting and love the book rather than just liking it. The plot of the story is very well done, after all.

P.S. Also worth noting, this is another multiple narrator story. It serves the story well, and considering how little I liked Manon, it was nice to get a break from her occasionally. I used to think this was an unusual approach, but having read two in a row, perhaps it’s the new thing…


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