Title: Missing Melissa
Author: Alretha Thomas
Published: May 5th 2015
Publisher: Divers Art Collective
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Mystery
Length: 301 pages
I received a PDF of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Book Blurb (via Goodreads):
Twenty-two years old with a journalism degree from UCLA and a promising entry level position at a television station, Madeline Patterson is ready to take on the Universe. Raised by two loving parents, adored by her grandmother, protected by her dog, Pepper, and supported by her best friend—Madeline has it all. There’s only one thing missing—literally missing—her identical twin, Melissa.
When Madeline and Melissa were three-years-old, their mother was carjacked in broad daylight while taking them to a doctor’s appointment. She was able to get away with Madeline in tow, but the assailants left the scene before she could rescue Melissa. A long and massive search ensued, but Melissa was never found and is believed to be dead. However, a dream Madeline has on her twenty-second birthday, wherein Melissa appears to her as a grown woman pleading for help, convinces her Melissa is still alive. Against her parents’ wishes, Madeline vows to find her twin. However, in doing so, she unknowingly stumbles upon a series of startling clues that point to her parents’ possible involvement in Melissa’s disappearance. Paralyzed by fear, Madeline doesn’t want to face what could possibly be the ugly and grim truth about her parents. However, her desire to find Melissa propels her forward—but nothing could prepare her for what she discovers.
When I first read the blurb for this book, I was really excited to read it. I haven’t read a lot of books about missing people and the mystery of it drew me in.
Missing Melissa follows Maddie, Melissa’s twin, almost twenty years after their mother was carjacked and Melissa was taken. Maddie is determined to find her twin – convinced she is still alive – despite her parents fighting her at every turn. Dark family secrets are unearthed and her world is turned upside down.
I really enjoyed the mystery to this story. I liked trying to piece together the clues and try to figure out what had happened. There’s a few red herrings thrown in and I didn’t actually manage to work it out, which is always a bonus because then I get to be surprised.
The only niggle I have is the relationship that forms between Maddie and the charming detective working her sister’s case, Sam. I felt that it was too much like insta-love. He’s practically drooling over her from the moment they meet and he didn’t strike me as very professional because of it. Within such a short space of time, the relationship just got way too serious for me to find it believable and it took away from my enjoyment of the story a bit.
Maddie’s relationships with the other characters was better but I again didn’t like the way her mother acted when things started moving forward with the case. Her actions just struck me as really odd and jarring and it didn’t sit well with me.
Despite the character issues, I really enjoyed the dynamics between Maddie and the people in her life. I also liked that Ruby’s story was told as well – she wasn’t just the roommate who was there but didn’t seem to really have a life of her own. She had her own issues to deal with while still trying to be a supportive friend.
I wasn’t ready for the revelation that happened at the end. Once the pieces of the puzzle were all revealed, it seemed so obvious but the mystery was expertly woven and it’s so much fun trying to piece it all together.
A good mystery that’s quick and easy to read.
About the Author
Alretha Thomas recently landed a four-book deal with Soul Mate Publishing. “Married in the Nick of Nine,” the first novel in her Cass & Nick series is now available on Amazon. The three remaining books in the series will be released as follows: The Baby in the Window, October 2014. One Harte, Two Loves, January 2015, and Renee’s Return, April 2015.
Shortly after graduating from USC with a degree in journalism, Alretha soon realized her interest in her major was not heartfelt. Instead of writing news stories, she wanted to write plays and books. Several years later, her church gave her an outlet to fulfill her writing desires through their Liturgical Fine Arts Department wherein Alretha penned twelve theatre pieces—the community response was overwhelming.
This led to plays outside of the church, including Alretha’s “One, Woman Two Lives,” starring Kellita Smith (The Bernie Mac Show), directed by four-time NAACP Image Award Best Director recipient, Denise Dowse. The production garnered rave reviews from critics and audiences.
In between plays, Alretha’s first novel, “Daughter Denied,” was launched in 2008 and in 2011, Alretha launched “Dancing Her Dreams Away.” Her third novel, “Married in the Nick of Nine,” was launched in 2012 and spawned a four-book standalone series affectionately known as the Cass & Nick Series. In 2014, Soul Mate Publishing acquired all four books. The first book, “Married in the Nick of Nine” is scheduled for release in the summer of 2014.The remaining novels in the series, “The Baby in the Window,” “One Harte, Two Loves,” and “Renee’s Return” are forthcoming. “Four Ladies Only” is Alretha’s third indie novel.