Hello everyone and welcome to my last review of the year!
Title: Whistle in the Dark by Emma Healey
Date Published: 3rd May 2018
Genre: Women’s Fiction
In the award-winning Elizabeth is Missing debut novelist Emma Healey explored grandmother Maud’s attempt to solve a70-year-old mystery as she succumbed to dementia.
Now, in her dazzling follow-up Whistle in the Dark, we meet Jen, mother to 15-year-old Lana – who has just been found after going missing for four desperate days. Lana can’t talk about the missing days. As her daughter’s life falls apart, Jen turns detective to discover what happened . . .
How do you rescue someone who has already been found?
Jen’s fifteen-year-old daughter goes missing for four agonizing days. When Lana is found, unharmed, in the middle of the desolate countryside, everyone thinks the worst is over. But Lana refuses to tell anyone what happened, and the police think the case is closed. The once-happy, loving family returns to London, where things start to fall apart. Lana begins acting strangely: refusing to go to school, and sleeping with the light on.
With her daughter increasingly becoming a stranger, Jen is sure the answer lies in those four missing days. But will Lana ever reveal what happened?
So I absolutely adored Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey so I was so excited when I heard about her new book and unfortunately it’s taken me this long to get round to reading it!
Whistle In The Dark opens with Jen’s suicidal fifteen year old daughter Lana being found after being missing for four days. Lana refuses point blank to tell her what happened to her saying she doesn’t remember. This sets Jen’s overactive imagination into overdrive, until she follows her daughters footsteps and finds out what really happened to her.
The book pulled me in with the dream like style of writing and the added mystery about where had Lana been. Had she been abducted or something else? Why won’t she tell anyone what happened to her? I was imagining all sorts I can tell you!
The characters are very realistic, especially Lana who reminded me so much of my moody teenage son. I have to be honest though pretty much all the story is told from Jen’s point of view, while she has this child-like overactive imagination, she is also pretty neurotic which grated on my nerves a little bit.
I will say this it does show a quite unflinching view of depression which I appreciated and also showed it from the parents perspective, the feeling of hopelessness and inadequacy that someone who’s child is suffering might feel.
Unfortunately I felt like it missed the mark slightly, mainly because I was expecting a little bit more mystery and intrigue and it kind of just morphed into a family drama (that’s why I marked this as women’sfiction rather than mystery/thriller). In all honesty the only reason I got to the end was to find out what happened to Lana which I found disappointing.
I’d recommend Whistle in the dark to anyone who enjoys realistic characters mixed with family dramas.
About The Author:
Emma Healey wrote her first short story when she was four, told her teachers she was going to be a writer when she was eight, but had learnt better by twelve and had decided on being a litigator (inspired entirely by the film Clueless). It took another ten years before she came back to writing. She grew up in London where she went to art college and completed her first degree in bookbinding. She then worked for two libraries, two bookshops, two art galleries and two universities, and was busily pursuing a career in the art world before writing overtook everything. She moved to Norwich in 2010 to study for the MA in Creative Writing at UEA and never moved back again.