There does seem to have been a glut of 'missing child' stories recently, and it can be difficult for an author to make a well-used plot stand out and be different from all the rest. David Bell has achieved this, and achieved it very well. Although the central theme of Cemetery Girl is a missing girl, there is so much more to this novel.
Tom and Abby Stuart's daughter Caitlin has been missing for four years, she disappeared without a trace whilst walking the dog when she was twelve-years-old. The opening chapters of the novel are intense, the reader is thrust right into the middle of a marriage that has completely broken down. Tom and Abby have drifted so far apart. Tom is convinced that Caitlin is still alive, he 'sees' her, he can't let go. Abby has ordered a memorial stone and organised a service of remembrance to celebrate Caitlin's life. Tom resents the comfort that Abby seeks from the Church, and especially from Pastor Chris. Tom is not ready to move on, he needs to find out what happened to his daughter.
Then, suddenly, things start to move. A stripper reports that she saw Caitlin in a strip club accompanied by an older man. Detective Ryan starts to move the case and within a few days Caitlin is discovered walking down a street looking thin, and dirty and tired. The Caitlin that is returned to her parents is not the same happy, cheerful Caitlin that disappeared four years ago. Instead they now have a sixteen-year-old foul-mouthed daughter who makes it clear that she wants to return to the man who took her, she says she loves him.
Tom is almost driven mad by the thoughts of what has happened to Caitlin during those four years and is determined to uncover every single sordid detail, and to ensure that this man spends the rest of his life behind bars.
At times, some of the characters appeared to do something that was completely out of character, especially Tom. It was difficult to understand his motives towards the end of the story, although these scenes certainly made for an exciting and page-turning read.
I would certainly read another book by David Bell, his ideas are original and his writing style is very accessible and makes for easy and enjoyable reading.
View the trailer of David Bell's thrilling novel Cemetery Girl.