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Book Review: Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica


Two women dead. A young girl missing. No answers. Eleven years on, a malnourished young woman is found lost and injured, claiming to be Delilah Dickey, vanished for eleven years. But is she really Delilah? Where has she been, all this time? Who took her - and why - on the day her mother apparently committed suicide?


The book is told in multiple points of view and three timelines, although it purports to be two, Now and Then (eleven years ago). I found the Then stuff really confusing, because it jumps back and forth between the POV of Kate, a veterinarian who knew both the missing women and was involved with the search for them, and Meredith, one of the missing women in the days before she went missing. It’s not always clear when exactly in the timeline the story is, before or after, and for the longest time I couldn’t even figure out why we were in Kate’s POV.


The biggest annoyance for me in the book was the villain reveal, however. When the vast, VAST majority of violence against women is committed by men, it’s not a ‘shocking twist’ when the villain turns out to be a lesbian woman. It’s harmful fear-mongering against a member of a minority who already suffer quite enough discrimination and unfounded accusations and attacks. When I found myself thinking “could have been worse, she could have turned out to be villainous BECAUSE of her lesbianism” and “well at least she’s not the only LGBTQ+ character in the book and the other one isn’t a villain” I knew I was making excuses for the author, though, and told myself to snap out of it.


Stop making ‘lesbian villain’ the Shocking Twist in mystery/thrillers. It’s not shocking. It’s just bigotry. And I’m seeing far too much of it.


One star.

Local Woman Missing is available now.


Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.

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© 2016 by Catherine Bilson

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