Audio Book Extra
By Susie Steiner Narrated by Juanita McMahon
I always enjoy listening to mysteries and thrillers while running. With the crime solving and constant clues and details I have little time to think about how much lungs burn or that Gandalf is pulling me to run at a speed much faster than I am comfortable running long distances at (he’s a great running partner, pushing me like this!)
When I saw Missing, Presumed on the Audible app I didn’t think much of it. It’s a plain grey box with some darker flecks—far off birds in flight—with “Missing, Presumed” written in a yellow font. Nothing special at all. (The Full cover photo - shown above - is a little more special.) But it was the title that caught my eye. Why “presumed?” Was “presumed” a statement or a question? And obviously, who was presumably missing?
Susie Steiner began her career as a journalist and then a commissioning editor for the Guardian before she wrote her first novel Homecoming in 2013. Missing, Presumed is her second novel; it is the first book in the DS Manon series written by Steiner in 2016.
Two weeks before Christmas Edith Hind—a post-graduate student from Cambridge and daughter of the royal family’s physician—is found to be missing by her charming, yet boring, boyfriend, Will. Edith left behind all personal belongings including her phone, keys and winter coat. Manon Bradshaw—a woman desperate to find love— and her spineless partner Davy are the detectives assigned to the case. Manon knows that the first 72 hours are critical: find her or start looking for a body.
Through several points of view, the case of presumably missing Edith Hind unfolds to tell hidden secrets of her own and of her family. What happened to Edith? Was her complex love life at the heart of her disappearance? And when a body is discovered, will it solve the mystery or add more questions?
Listening to Missing, Presumed rather than reading it has a definite upside. Getting to listen to Juanita McCahon read the story (and a great job she did!) in her British accent, I felt like it seemed more like a movie being played in my head rather than me listing to someone drone on about what these other people were doing and thinking. And yes, drone on is exactly what I think the story would have been had just anyone read this story.
The only other thing I liked about Missing, Presumed was Davy. While he is spineless when it comes to his girlfriend, he is quite feisty with Manon and tries not to let her boring love life get in the way. Davy should have been the main character of the book and maybe there would have been a little more depth and intrigue.
Susie Steiner tries to make Manon Bradshaw’s character interesting by making her this hard, veteran of the police force who is desperate to find love as her time to have a family ticks away, but Manon comes off as desperate and whinny. The story becomes so focused on Manon’s love life, that the point of the story—this missing person—is pushed into the background almost as an afterthought. What is thought to be a mystery/thriller turns out to be a middle-aged woman’s diary on finding and losing love.
I have a very difficult time not finishing a book, whether if I like it or not. I may put it down for days, weeks, or even—on the extremely rare occasion—years, but I always come back to it and finish it. If it wasn’t for the fact that this was an audio book and I was working on a project in my basement that took days to complete, this would probably have been one of those books.
I found the book to be lacking, and wasn’t at all the genre I thought I was getting into. The writing wasn’t bad, I just found the story itself to be bad. I picked up the book thinking it was going to be about a missing person and the process of solving the mystery only to find myself listen to a woman’s love life woes with a little bit of mystery solving in the background. I understand being a woman who constantly has the thought of their biological clock ticking in the back of their mind. I, too, am of that age and frame of mind, but I don’t let it be an obsession, and I definitely don’t let it get in the way of my work like Manon does. She’s the picture-perfect wretched sigh when someone says “moody, middle-aged woman” these days. No one wants to talk to that person, let alone read an entire book about her. Thankfully, in the end, Manon has a life change that ends this persona and makes her an enjoyable person. I can only hope that this happy, new persona continues with the DS Manon series.
While I don’t think I’ll personally be continuing the DS Manon series anytime soon, I’m sure that someone out there identified with Manon and will be waiting excitedly for her next adventure to come out. I on the other hand, will be in search of a real mystery thriller.
From one wine-loving bookaholic to another, I hope I’ve helped you find your next fix.
Love this book? Check out The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith.
Pair it with: Ménage à Trois Cabernet Sauvignon—Lush, dark berry flavors and silky tannins.
I opened this bottle while listening to Missing, Presumed one evening. I wasn’t listening to it at the time per se, but this was also the night I had my epiphany about what my blog was missing… presumably. Kind of funny how all that worked out. With all the sexual relationships throughout this book the name of the wine fit with that theme perfectly, and then to find what the blog was presumably missing while drinking it, I couldn’t help but to laugh at the irony. Funny things do happen.
Looking for something with a little more mystery and thrill? Check out Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Or one of Flynn’s other books, Sharp Objects and Dark Places, for more chilling mysteries with twists you’ll never see coming!
Start a conversation: This is my first bad review, what do you do when you begin a book that you don’t care for? What book could you just not stand to complete?
Have a book you’d like to suggest or one you’d like me to review? Please feel free to leave your comments down below.