Fans of Alfred Hitchcock will revel in the story of The Missing Years by Lexie Elliott. A weave of mystery and terror, the story follows Ailsa Calder on her journey back to her childhood home in Scotland. Upon her mother’s recent death, Ailsa inherits half of the house known as the Manse. The other half of the house belongs to Ailsa’s father who mysteriously disappeared twenty-seven years earlier. In order to settle the inheritance, Ailsa must return to Scotland.
Accompanied by her half-sister Carrie, Ailsa leaves her job in London along with her erstwhile partner before she finally sets eyes on the Manse which is nestled amidst the craggy peaks of the Scottish Highlands. This trip is meant to accomplish two things: have her father declared legally dead – no trace of him has ever been found – and to bond with the half-sister she barely knows. But upon her arrival, Ailsa can’t shake the feeling that the house is watching her every move and trying to communicate with her.
From the very first night, things begin to go wrong. A nighttime intruder answers some of Ailsa’s questions but leaves her with even more. Why is the girl Fiona fixated on the house? And why does Fiona have so much trouble keeping track of time?
Is there a meaning behind the thuds and bumps that the house seems to create? And was that really a person or just a shadow that Ailsa spies in her attic? Why won’t animals come onto the property? And why do the town’s residents seem to blame Ailsa for the actions of her father and mother?
The suspense builds steadily as the clues are revealed until the final moment when Ailsa realizes that her very life is in danger.
The Missing Years is the second book by author Lexie Elliott, her first being The French Girl. While this type of story is not my usual reading fare, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It kept my interest from page one. The characters are strong and multi-faceted as they should be for this type of story. Fans of Stephen King will like this one as will any reader who enjoys a good mystery. This reviewer has now put Lexie Elliott on my to-be-read list as a promising author.
NOTE: I was provided with an Advanced Readers Copy by Read It Forward.
RATING: 4.5 stars