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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Missing: Never Forgotten is a contemporary mystery novel written by Leila Kirkconnell. It was in 1952 when eight-year-old Hank Yates came home from school to find his family forever and tragically changed. While his mom was hanging laundry in the backyard, someone had stolen Hank’s sister, two-year-old Emeline. His mom, who had been a talented pianist, never recovered from that loss and spent her days silent and grieving. His dad died of a heart attack one week before Hank graduated from high school. Hank became a police officer and achieved the rank of detective, and he naturally gravitated to a position in Missing Persons, his own sad history giving him a special insight into the suffering of those whose family members had vanished. One case, the disappearance of Marisa Sawyer, an infant who had been abducted while grocery shopping with her mother, seemed to sharpen once more the pain he still bore from the loss of his sister.
Missing: Never Forgotten is a well-written and compelling story that focuses on the impact of child abduction on both the victim and their families. I was particularly moved by Marisa’s plight as her happy and well-adjusted world is turned awry, and wondered how the course of justice taken could possibly be considered in the best interests of the child, the prevailing motivation in most custody battles. Kirkconnell also addresses the sad legacy of domestic abuse and the cycle of continuing damage as the abused children either become abusers themselves or end up with abusive partners. Her characters are vividly drawn and complex, especially Marisa, her dad and her grandmother, and the plot is well developed and kept me engaged in her story. Missing: Never Forgotten is highly recommended.