This mystery has three different timelines and narratives. 2017: Twenty year old Tallulah and Zack have a child and they live with Tallulah's mother Kim in an English suburb. You read this from Tallulah's perspective and learn she isn't in love with Zach anymore. Zach had abandoned her after she told him she was pregnant. After months of handling things alone her feelings have changed when he insinuates himself into her life again. This tension charged situation is well written. One evening when the two are out on a "date" Scarlett Jacques appears at their table and invites them to a party at her house.
Tallulah contacts her mother Kim and asks if she minds watching the baby longer as she has been invited to a party with college friends. By morning there is no sign of them. Tallulah and Zach have disappeared into thin air.
In the 2018 timeline Kim is still frantically trying to find her daughter with zero help (or concern) from Zach's mother Megs. A year passes and the disappearance of the two becomes a cold case. You read about Kim's life handling her grandson, always sad and hoping someone will come forward about her daughter's disappearance.
In 2019 thirty-four year old Sophie, a mystery novelist, moves into the head master's quarters at Manton College with her boyfriend Shaun. While Shaun is dealing with the responsibilities of his new position at Manton college, Sophie explores the wooded area around their living quarters. She comes upon a cardboard sign with the message Dig Here and a downward arrow attached to a post. Sophie does dig and comes up with an engagement ring still in the box. This is the thread which starts the naturally curious Sophie to research the missing couple and leads her to Kim.
There are many supporting characters in this novel and the author fleshes them out so you can visulaize them quite clearly. As you turn the pages and chapters lands you back into 2017 a dangerous game of deception is revealed.
The ending - it all comes together and it most certainly was not what I expected. Well done.
Publication date September 7, 2021 by Atria Books. Genre: Mystery, Thrillers.
Thank you to Netgalley for the advanced reader's copy of this book. I was not compensated for the review, all opinions are mine.
Sharing with Joy for British Isles Friday.