#bookreview Whistle in the Dark by Emma Healey ‪@ECHealey ‬published by @PenguinUKBooks

How do you rescue someone who has already been found?

Jen’s fifteen-year-old daughter goes missing for four agonizing days. When Lana is found, unharmed, in the middle of the desolate countryside, everyone thinks the worst is over. But Lana refuses to tell anyone what happened, and the police think the case is closed. The once-happy, loving family returns to London, where things start to fall apart. Lana begins acting strangely: refusing to go to school, and sleeping with the light on.

With her daughter increasingly becoming a stranger, Jen is sure the answer lies in those four missing days. But will Lana ever reveal what happened?

My reading experience:

This was an unexpectedly compelling thrill ride of a book.

The subject of our story is Lana who has been found after being missing for 4 days. Already a 15 year old daughter living through various challenges, she seems to have subtle yet obvious changes about her when she is found, despite her claim to have just gotten lost. The story is told through the voice of our main protagonist Jen, Lana’s Mum, who is going on a journey akin to hell – her daughter is subdued, physically injured, and not telling her a single thing about those 4 days. As a Mum I could completely relate to her frustration and anguish. I could also relate to the fact that no crisis occurs in a bubble, there are always other things to deal with too. C’est la vie.

So our wonderful writer presents all things in bite sized chunks under witty and analogous headings which breaks it down easily for the reader. I particularly enjoyed this type of short chapter bursts which added to the sense of Jen’s frustration and Lana’s inability to deal with lengthy conversations or family situations.

So what did happen to Lana in those 4 days? The author takes us on a twisted, knotty journey that unravels the story of Jen, her relationships with her own mother, her friend, her eldest daughter, her husband, herself. What is Jen really searching for?

I found this to a unique perspective on a missing person; what happens when they come home. Utterly atmospheric, immersive and compelling, any reader will be hooked. Absolutely thought provoking, the writing style evoking the changes of emotions, and ultimately creating a very real story of a found 15 year old girl and what it does to the family, friends and the world of social media.

Themes: missing persons, found persons, religious cults, manipulation, coercion, family dynamics, self-harm, sibling rivalry, mother daughter relationships, social media

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