Book review: Seaside town holds secrets in 'Local Gone Missing' |  Entertainment

Book review: Seaside town holds secrets in ‘Local Gone Missing’ | Entertainment

By Penny A Parrish FOR THE FREE LANCE–STAR

I have friends who live in beachside homes. They love being by the ocean, but absolutely hate Saturdays, when hundreds—or even thousands—of visitors descend upon their paradise to rent the McMansions by the water and clog the roads and overwhelm local restaurants.

That premise is the theme of “Local Gone Missing.” Ebbing is a small seaside town in England where longtime residents harbor residence toward visitors during the season. In a place where everyone knows everyone—and what everyone is up to—these intruders cause problems.

But Dee Eastwood, a woman who cleans houses in Ebbing, has a pretty good idea that all is not as it seems. The town is full of secrets, not only in the vacation homes but in the homes of permanent residents as well. As she does laundry and scrubs floors, people forget she is there. So she hears a lot. And knows a lot. And hides a lot.

One of the visitors plans a music festival that goes awry when two local teens overdose on drugs at the event. Adding to that, a well-liked local man goes missing that night. Elise King, a detective on medical leave, is drawn into the situation and tries to find answers in an unofficial way.

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Who can she trust? Who last saw the missing Charlie Perry? Is he truly a fine, upstanding citizen? Who brought the drugs to the music festival? These are some of the questions Elise must find answers to. Since she’s on leave, she can’t work through the police department, so she enlists the help of a neighbor, Ronnie, who devours detective novels.

Elise is a troubled character, recovering from breast cancer and the treatment that followed. She has also come off a long-term relationship with a fellow officer, a man she loved and thought she knew. And that man now runs these investigations.

Charlie’s body is eventually found, but the whodunit continues. The author drops bits of suspicion upon almost every character, making it hard for the reader to figure out who killed him—if indeed he was.

The book is a good read, perfect for a beachside chair. Little by little, the reader will unravel the threads and find an interesting and satisfying conclusion.

Penny A Parrish is a freelance writer in Stafford County.

Penny A Parrish is a freelance writer in Stafford County.

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