Just in case by some miraculous chance you haven’t already figured it out, I love a good thriller. I revel in having a page turner in my hands and love nothing better than racing home from work, putting on my PJ’s and getting my nose stuck in to what is usually some sort of harrowing mystery. The latest one to grace my hands is the brand new novel, 11 Missed Calls. Here’s what I thought to it….
11 Missed Calls is told from 2 points of view in 2 time zones. Anna is in the present day, trying to live a normal life despite the fact that her mother disappeared when she was a baby and no one has a clue what happened to her. Debbie is said mother and her chapters are told back in the lead up to her disappearance and follow her as she juggles a toddler, a new baby and a heart-breaking case of post-natal depression.
As Anna decides to dig deeper into what happened to her mum she starts to realise that not everyone has been completely honest with her and maybe some people know more about her disappearance than they’ve admitted. Meanwhile thirty years earlier Debbie is struggling to cope and starts to wonder how anything will ever be better again.
OK so this book was nowhere near what I was expecting. My plot summary is, if I do say so myself, far better than the one on the blurb that doesn’t really give any inkling as to what the book is really like. I enjoyed the switching between time zones which was seamless and not confusing in the slightest and I loved the fact that the character in the past was the one we were trying to find in the present. Clever.
In a similar vein to Emily in Her Name Was Rose I really connected with Anna as a lead character and felt that she was written superbly. It’s easy to find characters who are led by their emotions a tad annoying (is that cold of me?!) but with Anna she was just a girl who wanted to know what happened to her Mum and with each chapter I was willing her on.
I also really liked the family dynamic of this one, with Anna's Dad now married to her Mum’s old best friend I found all the interweaving twists and turns from their past interesting and the thing that kept me reading was the urge to discover what had really happened to Debbie all those years ago.
Another pro for me, which actually I class as being highly important when it comes to my reading material, was the length of the chapters. These were short and snappy with some only being a couple of pages long meaning it’s the perfect book to pick up when you’ve only got a few minutes spare.
Let’s get this straight, I really enjoyed this book as a whole but looking back on it there were quite a few things that left some room for improvement.
The ending is make or break when it comes to gripping thrillers like this one and to be honest, this one was lacking in any sense of shock or excitement. Everything was wrapped up within about one chapter (which seems to be a common occurrence in the books I’m picking up at the minute) and considering how invested I’d got in whether or not Anna was ever going to see her Mum again I found the whole thing fully underwhelming. So much so that once it was all unravelled I couldn’t really be bothered finishing the rest of the book. Brutal.
Another thing that let the whole thing down was various plot additions that quite simply just didn’t need to be there. There was a whole sub-plot surrounding Anna's husband and a big secret he was keeping which when concluded gave next to no assistance to the plot and should have been edited out after the first draft. There was also the introduction of a private detective which at first I thought was an inspired choice. The only problem was that she appeared about twice and ended up uncovering absolutely nothing. Again, no idea how she even made the final cut.
OK so I may have gone a little hard on the negative Nancy side of things on this one but, despite what you might think, I actually would still suggest picking this up…just maybe don’t send it straight to the top of your to-read pile. At the time I was fully invested in the story and even stayed up late on numerous occasions because I just couldn’t put it down. The problem is, I read so many of this genre of book that it takes a lot to really wow me now. I loved the concept I just wish it had been executed slightly better.