Miranda’s thriller, told backward over a two-week period, finds heroine Nicolette "Nic" Farrell back home in Cooley Ridge to solve the 10-year-old case of her missing best friend, Corrine, as well as the fresh disappearance of neighbor Annaleise Carter.
With a slew of thrillers about disappearing women (inevitably called "girls" though they're adults) coming this spring and summer, Miranda (Soulprint, 2015, etc.) has a lot of competition. The gimmick of telling the story backward causes confusion more than it builds suspense, and the characters, including Nic; her rich, mostly offstage fiance, Everett; her ex-boyfriend Tyler, who happened to be dating Annaleise at the time of her disappearance—an icky twist—her brother, Daniel, and his pregnant wife, Laura, are all unmemorable figures with no real feelings or motivations. The one character who does elicit sympathy is Nic's father, forced to leave his home because of dementia. Yet it's because of his statements that he knows about a missing girl that the plot is set in motion—and how often does a small-town police force reopen a case because an old man mutters something, and no one can figure out if it’s about his neighbor or his daughter’s former best friend, now gone for 10 years? The chronology is frustrating, the characters are bland, and the plotting is sloppy.
Feel free to give these missing girls a miss.