After her mother dies, Kal and her toddler set out to find out more about the mysterious sender of the postcards she found in her mother's belongings. But she quickly regrets her decision...
In this gripping debut, The Missing One, Lucy Atkins takes us on one woman's terrifying journey to the beautiful and rugged Pacific Northwest to discover the dark secrets of her family's past so that she can understand and accept herself. Kal McKenzie was never close to her mother Elena, whose coldness towards her spoiled any chance of a good relationship. When Elena dies of cancer, Kal feels forlorn: how do you mourn a mother who, inexplicably, just didn't seem to love you?
While clearing out Elena's art studio, Kal finds a drawer packed with postcards, each bearing an identical one-line message from a Canadian gallery owner named Susannah Gillespie: "Thinking of you." Who is this woman and what does she hold the key to her ruined relationship with her mother?
Conflicted by her grief and shaken up from recently seeing a covetous text from an old girlfriend on her husband's cell phone, Kal impulsively sets off with her toddler Finn to Susannah's isolated home on a remote British Columbian island. A place of killer whales and storms.
Soon Kal quickly realizes she has made a big mistake. The striking and enigmatic Susannah will only share a few scraps of information about Elena. Unbeknownst to her, she discovers that her mother was a pioneering orca researcher--an activist trying to save these powerful and dangerous creatures.
As Kal struggles to piece together her mother's past and what happened between Elena and Susannah in the 1970s, Susannah's behavior grows more and more erratic. Most worrying of all, Susannah is becoming increasingly preoccupied with little Finn. Kal's uneasiness soon proves true and Kal must confront the biggest threat to her family she has ever experienced.
Told in two competing narratives, The Missing One intermixes Kal's present day journey to with that of her mother's awakening as an independent woman, scientist, and activist. As these two narratives converge the novel transforms into a white-knuckle thriller where the secrets of the past imperil the lives of the present.
Interweaving local lore of how orcas protect those who travel away from home, and guides them back safely, in The Missing One Lucy Atkins wrestles with the question of how the past influences the present, and who has the right to own one's history.
(P)2014 WF Howes Ltd
Lucy Atkins is an award-winning feature journalist and author, as well as a Sunday Times book critic. She has written for many newspapers, including the Guardian, The Times, The Sunday Times, and the Telegraph, as well as magazines such as Psychologies, Red, Woman and Home and Grazia. She lives in Oxford.
Praise for Lucy Atkins:
Horribly, horribly compulsive. Brilliant — Fiona Barton, author of The Widow
A gripping page-turner — The Sunday Times
Taut, tense, and beautifully written. I held my breath between chapters and didn't sleep until I reached the end — Clare Mackintosh, author of I Let You Go
A complex, creepy and insidious novel — The Guardian on The Night Visitor
The rich characterisation makes for an alarmingly plausible riches-to-rags tale — Sunday Times on The Night Visitor
Elegant, clever, beautifully written. Lucy Atkins is, quite frankly, a genius — Joanna Cannon, author of The Trouble with Goats and Sheep
Thrillingly creepy and darkly funny, The Night Visitor set me racing through the chapters with its brilliant plotting and characters that crackle off the page. A cannot tear yourself away novel — Kate Hamer, author of The Girl in the Red Coat
Addictive . . . a pace so relentless that you'll want to inhale this novel in one uninterrupted sitting — Sunday Times on The Other Child
This atmospheric, propulsive novel creeps up on you like footsteps in the dead of night... a tingling layer of gothic suspense — Metro on The Night Visitor
One of the most vivid, memorable and menacing characters I've ever read...Dark, tense and menacing, I was quickly drawn into the story and couldn't put it down. Readers who enjoyed Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller will adore it — CL Taylor, author of The Lie
Wonderfully dark and intriguing. In Vivian, Atkins has created a fascinating and sinister character who will stay with you long after you've finished the book. Highly recommended — Linda Green, author of While My Eyes Were Closed
Such a sophisticated, layered read, I absolutely revelled in it. A wonderful, wonderful book. The plotting is superb but the real triumph is the characterisation. The moment I finished, I wanted to read it all over again — Clare Mackintosh on The Night Visitor
I absolutely loved this novel. The Other Child is seriously gripping, seriously scary and seriously brilliant — Clare Kendal, author of The Book of You
Atmospheric and packed with suspense, kept me on edge from start to finish — Woman & Home Magazine on The Other Child
Sinister, suspenseful and a great sense of place. It races along, as a family history is unpicked — Fanny Blake, author
Fabulously dark — Woman & Home on The Night Visitor
Sinister, utterly compulsive...will keep your pulse racing until its dramatic denouement — Red Magazine on The Night Visitor
Truly unnerving. Atkins perfectly captures the vulnerability that comes with moving overseas, away from friends and support networks, and uses it expertly in this compelling novel. Not just one-more-page gripping but perceptive and beautifully written — Lucie Whitehouse on The Other Child
An elegantly written page-turner which pulled me in from the start and held its grip until the final page — Renee Knight, author of Disclaimer
An absolute cracker...Fantastic! — Sunday Mirror on The Night Visitor
It's wonderfully creepy, in that clever way that is tied in with character, as much as plot and setting. And the beetle metaphor is just ingenious — Sabine Durrant, author of Lie With Me
The tension is immediate and unrelenting; the sense of unease palpable. Deceptive on every level, this is a gripping, Rendellesque read — Mick Herron, author of Spook Street
Enjoyably creepy — Sunday Express on The Night Visitor
Utterly gripping — Literary Review on The Night Visitor
The last book I read in one sitting like this was Louise Doughty's Apple Tree Yard. Like Louise, Lucy Atkins is brilliant at ramping up the tension so that there's not a chance of relief until the end — Polly Samson
Brilliantly believable...you will relish every page — The People on The Night Visitor
This is an enthralling, creepy and endlessly twisty story about secrets, lies and the destructive power of ambition. We galloped to the climax. Five stars — Heat on The Night Visitor
I read this book in one sitting. A tense psychological thriller which explores authenticity, fame, and lies and the depths you might sink to in order to protect your reputation. A page-turner that keeps you gripped from the very first page — Psychologies on The Night Visitor
It put me in mind of Misery, and Rebecca. Splendidly tense, creepy and enjoyable — Sarah Hilary, author of Quieter Than Killing
Characters so real you could reach out and touch them. Absorbing, exciting and full of rich detail - snap this one up! — Lucie Whitehouse, author of Keep You Close
Beautifully crafted, unsettling and utterly unputdownable, The Night Visitor explores what happens when we take someone else's story and make it our own — Nuala Ellwood, author of My Sister's Bones
Crackles with undercurrents of mistrust and menace. Tense, atmospheric and beautifully written, this unnerving tale of ambition and revenge held me captive until the last page. Brilliant — Amanda Jennings, author of In Her Wake
Clever, multilayered and morally murky. I read it with a delicious sense of dread — Tammy Cohen, author of When She Was Bad
Elegantly written with a rollercoaster of twists and turns, The Night Visitor has creepy echoes of Zoe Heller's Notes on a Scandal. I read it in two sittings — Elizabeth Heathcote, author of Undertow
The Night Visitor is an addictive and intricately plotted page-turner. I devoured it and I loved it — Hannah Beckermann, author and journalist
Thrilling...the sort of book you think about even when not reading, and stay up far later than you should to finish. Atkins is a master of suspense; she creates characters that you feel like you've met, and situations you never want to be in. Completely wonderful — Dr Suzannah Lipscomb, historian, author and TV presenter
It's clever, complex and compelling and grips right up to that completely unexpected twist. A chilling psychological thriller with beetles! — Fanny Blake on The Night Visitor