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.
"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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- K. Klineman