After her arrest, a woman claims to be a long-missing teenage girl and finds herself living the vanished girl’s life only to become ensnared in trying to unravel the truth behind her disappearance.
In 2003, 16-year-old Rebecca “Bec” Winter disappeared from a quiet street in Canberra, Australia. The usual investigation efforts stalled due to raging wildfires and came up empty. Fast-forward 11 years, and a woman is arrested for shoplifting in New South Wales. When asked her name, she panics and claims to be Bec because someone once told her she looked like the missing girl. Thus begins the first of too many preposterous occurrences that pepper Snoekstra’s debut. The lead detective on the case, Special Investigator Vincent Andopolis, is both thrilled and apprehensive to see Fake Bec: he can’t claim credit for having found her in a dark basement somewhere, and she’s unsurprisingly tight-lipped on the details of her “abduction.” Snoekstra alternates between present-day Fake Bec and 2003 Real Bec, building up to the day of her disappearance. The humdrum teenage world is full of dramatic best friends and a family that barely seems to acknowledge Bec’s existence, so focused is it on the happiness of her younger twin brothers, Andrew and Paul. Fake Bec struggles with the expected conundrums of trying to be someone else, heightened by the fact that the other person is a high-profile missing person: how do I maintain the facade? What really happened to my doppelgänger? Neither question is very compelling.
A premise that could collapse in a light breeze coupled with telegraphed plot twists make for an uninspired entry in the psychological thriller category.