99 Red Balloons by Elisabeth Carpenter – Review.

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About the Book

Two girls go missing, decades apart. What would you do if one was your daughter?
When eight-year-old Grace goes missing from a sweetshop on the way home from school, her mother Emma is plunged into a nightmare. Her family rallies around, but as the police hunt begins, cracks begin to emerge.
What are the secret emails sent between Emma’s husband and her sister? Why does her mother take so long to join the search? And is Emma really as innocent as she seems?
Meanwhile, ageing widow Maggie Taylor sees Grace’s picture in the newspaper. It’s a photograph that jolts her from the pain of her existence into a spiralling obsession with another girl – the first girl who disappeared..

My Review

I moved this book to the top of the pile of books to read when I realised that the author was local and that there was an event to support the publication at the local bookshop.
Like many novels at the moment the synopsis concerns a missing child. Where the book does differ is that there is a connection to a child that went missing years earlier.
There are multiple narrators, some have said that they got confused but I found it easy enough to follow with most of the chapter headings saying who the narrator was. There were only a few occasions where the narrator was anonymous to keep the mystery intact. I thought that this was done very well, the narrators were all different and she managed to get into the heads of all of them. My favourite character was Maggie, the oldest one who has lost everything but still managed to keep going. I liked everything about her.
I thought the novel would be set in the local area, and even though one of the characters was from Preston it was mainly set elsewhere. This didn’t detract from the story, I found it all extremely enjoyable.
There is a twist, I could see it coming and thought I had worked it out but I was completely wrong. If you go into this novel assuming that it is just another missing person novel you would be wrong, most of the storyline is different to every other book that I have read.
It’s a great debut and after hearing about the next novel at the event I am looking forward to keeping up with this author.

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