By: Sophie Littlefield
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publish Date: October 2014
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: November 13, 2014
Sophie Littlefield delivers an intriguing story of deception and suspense in her latest novel, The Missing Place.
Colleen is far from her privileged and wealthy Sudbury, Massachusetts home. She would have never imagined herself in the throes and nothingness of Lawton, North Dakota. A mild panic grips Colleen as her plane touches down and she arrives in the virtually dark terminal and realizes the rental car counter is closed. She tentatively approaches the man kneeling down by the exit in hopes of getting some answers. When she learns there are no cabs available and no rooms open at the (maybe) one or two hotels in town, Colleen pleads for a ride—a ride that would take her to (hopefully) civilization. Her husband Andy had warned her about going off half-cocked on this wild goose chase. However, nothing would stop her given the fact her son Paul has gone missing.
Through a series of coincidences and perhaps divine guidance, Colleen is deposited on the broken-down doorstep of the RV where hard-worn Californian Shay has taken up residency. It would seem Shay’s son, Taylor, is also among the missing from Hunter-Cole Energy’s Black Creek camp. Both young men had a few things in common: they were definitely “newbie’s” as was their mutual indoctrination into the roughshod life of an oil rigger. It was a given they would find friendship in each other. What Colleen and Shay couldn’t know is the series of road blocks and multitude of dead ends that lay ahead of them in their mission they vowed never to give up on: to find their sons.
Sophie Littlefield has written a compelling novel that truly captured the heart strings of this reader. Littlefield zeroed in on the premise of the horror and fear this mother never would want to experience: my child has gone missing. Ms. Littlefield develops her two main characters, Colleen and Shay—both mothers of missing sons, with a presence of absolute opposites; yet there is a sublime nuance they were destined to come together and they mesh in an awkward way because of the common bond of their missing sons. The pace of this story moves along nicely and Ms. Littleton has a stylistic balance of developing both dialogue and prose. She chooses her words wisely and focuses on everyday language that, in my opinion, makes for a fast and familiar read. Ms. Littleton demonstrates a natural ability of strategically sowing the seeds of her story as she gradually builds the plot from one chapter to the next. There is an abundance of emotion and reality to these women that is anchored in what it must be like to wonder what happened to her missing child. As Littlefield guides the reader throughout this story, I applaud her in tying up loose ends as the story winds down. The surprise ending will leave the reader with a satisfying sense of closure. I look forward to her next novel.
Quill says: The Missing Place is a story devoted to a mother’s worst nightmare and the importance of never giving up hope.