The Missing One

  • by Lucy Atkins
  • Narrated by Buffy Davies
  • 20 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In her gripping debut novel, Lucy Atkins takes us on one woman's journey to the beautiful and rugged Pacific Northwest to discover the dark secrets of her family's past so she can understand and accept herself. Kal McKenzie was never close to her mother, Elena, whose coldness toward 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 might she hold the key to Kal's 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 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 share only a few scraps of information about Elena. Kal discovers that her mother was a pioneering orca researcher--an activist trying to save the powerful and dangerous creatures.

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What the Critics Say

"Lucy Atkins's engrossing debut immediately immerses the reader in intrigue." (Publishers Weekly)
"Beautifully written and compelling...a wonderful thriller that is also such a strong portrayal of motherhood." (Sabine Durrant, author of Under Your Skin)
A Best of 2014 Books Pick
Best Mysteries of 2014 by The Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Part mystery, part feminist tome, part story of parental love, part animal-rights narrative, The Missing One is like nothing I've read before...[a] poetic page turner." (The Plain Dealer)
"This novel is brilliantly gripping." (Closer)
"A moving and suspenseful tale of the secrets a family keeps." (Rachel Hore, author of The Silent Tide)
"A gripping page-turner." (The Sunday Times)
"A page-turning and suspenseful tale.... I read it in three sittings...a compelling emotional mystery." (Lucy Clarke, author of The Sea Sisters)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Thoroughly enjoyed!

Will be sure to recommend this one ... This had all the elements I enjoy most... Great story... Combination of adventure/quest and suspense.
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- K. Klineman

Long, but worth every minute

Would you listen to The Missing One again? Why?

Yes for sure. The writing is lovely. Beautiful descriptions of the wild North Pacific, and the whales and their behavior. The characters are very individual and real. Very believable. Everything about the book is believable, but it still leaves you wondering what will happen as grows more mysterious, by the minute.
It is slow paced, so some readers may get bogged down by that, but for me it just reconfirmed the plot and landscape. Instilling the remote location, tension and mystery of what was going on, and also Suzanna's unstable personality. How it slowly unfolds, with Buffy Davies perfect voice, and the luscious writing style.
The only thing that was a bit annoying was Cali's mothering style and constant saying "no" to her son. This is truly how it is with a toddler though, so I understand, and was able to look past it.


What was one of the most memorable moments of The Missing One?

When Cali jumped into the freezing water to get onto the boat with her son.


Which scene was your favorite?

They are all good but the best parts were when it went back to her mother's life- her marriage, her move from California to the "Float house" and, of course the day they took the family out on the boat with a storm coming was very memorable and tense. Her mother's life was so romantic in a wild way.


Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes. I also wanted to make it last too. These are the best ones.


Any additional comments?

Human behavior, the best kind of mystery. More please.

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- Alice

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-04-2015
  • Publisher: Quercus