The Missing Hours
Hardcover: 400 pages
(21 April 2016)
Chilling, deeply compelling, taut and – above all – beautifully composed, constructed and executed, Emma Kavanagh’s third novel, The Missing Hours, is an absolute joy from first page to last.
One moment, Selena Cole is playing with her two daughters in the park, the next she vanished only to return twenty-four hours later with no memory of where she has been or what she has done. What took place in those missing hours and whether they are linked to a nearby murder is for DS Finn Hale and his sister DC Leah Mackay to work out.
The thing to notice about The Missing Hours is that its multi-character point of view works astonishingly well and can only do so if the author has a tight grip on her characterisations. Here the protagonists – as they all potentially are – are delightfully drawn composites of the everyday, with just enough that is out the ordinary to make them memorable.
The dialogue, too, helps drive the pace where necessary, whereas the descriptive “sciencey” bits never dull, but rather gently apply the pace where necessary; an art in itself when it comes to delivering a thriller that may rest in the guise of a Police Procedural but is, in fact, more about Selena than might first be imagined.
And then there are the clues, the misleading sidetracking and tiny morsels that Kavanagh drops along her cinder pathway like authorial Gretel leading us, deliciously through the woods towards an extremely satisfying conclusion.
An at times complex but nevertheless engaging novel crammed with wit, guile and tenacity, The Missing Hours will not disappoint in any way.
Inteview with Emma Kavanagh - April 2016 by Chris High