Title: Missing You
Author: Kylie Kaden
Published: April 1st 2015
Publisher: Penguin Random House Australia
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Australian, Mystery
Rating: 4.5 stars
When Aisha met Ryan she fell hard for his good looks and easy charm. Why worry that he didn’t want children or a 9 to 5 job? Nothing and no one would come between them.
But with the birth of their high-needs son, Eli, their extraordinary love is shackled into an ordinary life, their passion blunted by responsibility.
Until Ryan can’t take it anymore.
Then, following a mysterious phone call late one night, Aisha leaves four-year-old Eli in the care of her elderly father Patrick – and doesn’t come back.
As Patrick struggles with the grandson he barely knows or understands, his frustration with his missing daughter and absent son-in-law quickly turns to fear.
Particularly when blood is found in Aisha’s abandoned car . . .
Kylie Kaden made quite the impression on me when I read her debut novel Losing Kate in 2015. Missing You does not suffer whatsoever from second novel syndrome, in fact, it is just as good as Kaden’s first novel. Missing You is a sharp contemporary domestic noir novel, with subtle undertones of romance. It offers the reader a powerful exploration of a family and a couple under stress, due to a missing key family member.
Missing You is the story of a couple, Ryan and Aisha. The unfolding story takes us from their love at first sight meeting at a university party, through to their hastened marriage, to the birth of their son Eli and right through to the present day nature of their fractured relationship. The focal point of Missing You is the disappearance of Aisha and then the search to find Ryan, who is also missing. We discover that Aisha, a devoted mother to her high needs son Eli, uncharacteristically left Eli in the care of her father Patrick, to attend a distress call. Days later, Aisha has not returned. The police are unconcerned, believing Aisha and Ryan have taken off for a much-needed respite holiday but Patrick remains unconvinced. Kaden moves the narrative back and forth, between the past and the present day, to slowly reveal the vital details in the past that lead to the current day events. Kaden also works carefully to build a solid picture of the state of Ryan and Aisha’s relationship, as well as including some key figures in their lives that may have a part to play in Aisha and Ryan’s disappearance.
Missing You is such a well depicted story and a highly believable one at that. It hit a little too close to home and I could easily imagine the scenario Kaden presents us with through her novel playing out in our own suburbs. Although Kylie Kaden bases her books in Brisbane, there is a strong sense of familiarity to her novel setting wise that allowed me to really get into this novel.
Missing You has a narrative that flows very readily. With undertones of mystery and suspense, it ensured that I was unable to close this book, no matter how hard I tried. Missing You was one of those books that I read in under a day, which is an indication of how compelling this story is. The narrative spans over seven years, which is a good time frame. I enjoyed Kaden’s gentle revelations of the events and people in the past, as well as present, who seemed to have a possible role to play in Aisha’s disappearance.
Aisha and Ryan, as well as their supporting counterparts, are well drawn protagonists. I put myself in Aisha’s shoes a number of times during this novel. As a mum with a child the same age as Eli, Aisha’s son, I wondered how I would cope with a special needs child. The shining light in this story is not simply the central mystery of Aisha’s disappearance, rather, it is the beauty of the relationship that flourishes between Aisha’s father Patrick and Eli.
There are other themes that come into play in Missing You and they are extremely thought provoking. From the unique bond and sibling rivalry that exists between the twin characters in Missing You, to the impact of the loss of a parent as a young age, caring for a high needs child, mental health and relationship issues. These are all hard-hitting themes that are depicted with insight. The result is an almost haunting commentary on the strains on modern relationships.
Missing You is a novel that makes you think, rethink and think again. The atmosphere is set high tension wise. It had me constantly theorising and developing scenarios as to what may have happened to Aisha, through the clues that Kaden drops into the story for the reader to discover. When I finally reached the end, I did exhale a big sigh of relief. I was a little miffed at the final result of Aisha’s disappearance, it was a happy ending of sorts, but in no way was justice served. It was also a fairly open ending, which may get to some readers, but it was fine by me.
If you are looking for a solid suspense novel that you can binge read in a short time frame, I would look no further than Missing You or Losing Kate, Kaden’s previous novel, both these books read in a similar gripping fashion. I highly recommended this title to all readers.
Missing You, by Kylie Kaden was published in Australia on the 1st April 2015 by Penguin Random House Australia. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of Missing You, Kylie Kaden visit here.