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The Girls Who Disappeared    by Claire Douglas order for
Girls Who Disappeared
by Claire Douglas
Order:  USA  Can
Harper, 2023 (2023)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

I've enjoyed other mysteries by Claire Douglas - Just Like the Other Girls, Then She Vanishes and The Couple at Number 9 - so started The Girls Who Disappeared with anticipation.

It opens on a 1998 Devil's Corridor car accident in rural Wilshire, involving Olivia, Sally, Tamzin and Katie. Tamzin had goaded all but Olivia Rutherford (the driver) into drinking too much. Olivia blacks out in the crash and awakens to find herself alone in the car - what happened to the other three?

Fast forward two decades, when journalist Jenna Halliday shows up in Stafferbury, Wilshire to make a BBC podcast about the tragedy. She stays in a forest cabin near the town. Jenna is furious about her husband Gavin's demand for a separation, after fifteen years of marriage, and about the effect on their son Finn.

Olivia hasn't driven since the accident. She lives with her mother and is in a stunted relationship with controlling Wesley Tucker. She has constant leg pain and suffers survivor's guilt.

Another key plot thread follows a different group of friends on the holiday of a lifetime in Thailand in the past - but it was a trip with dangerous strings attached. The author pulls all plot threads in this intricate mystery together to a surprising conclusion, with one final shocking twist.

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