Book Review / Gillian McAllister / Reviews with Spoilers

Gillian McAllister | Just Another Missing Person

The Book: 

Just Another Missing Person by Gillian McAllister
Published August 1, 2023 by William Morrow
Date read: September 28, 2023

The Characters: 

Julia and her daughter Genevieve

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Buy it on | Amazon

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The Plot (from Goodreads):

22-year-old Olivia has been missing for one day…and counting. She was last seen on CCTV, entering a dead-end alley. And not coming back out again.

Julia, the detective heading up the search for Olivia, thinks she knows what to expect. A desperate family, a ticking clock, and long hours away from her husband and daughter. But she has no idea just how close to home this case is going to get.

Because the criminal at the heart of the disappearance has something she never expected. His weapon isn’t a gun, or a knife: it’s a secret. Her worst one. And her family’s safety depends on one thing: Julia must NOT find out what happened to Olivia – and must frame somebody else for her murder.

If you find her, you will lose everything. What would you do?

This clever and endlessly surprising thriller is laced with a smart look at family and motherhood, and cements Gillian McAllister as a major talent in the world of suspense and a master of creating ethical dilemmas that show just how murky the distinction between right and wrong can be.

How did Just Another Missing Person end?

Click here for book spoilers for Just Another Missing Person
Book spoilers ahead–if you haven’t yet read Just Another Missing Person, I suggest you turn back now.

The Reveal:

The missing person wasn’t really Olivia. They were using Olivia’s passport and impersonating her online, but the real Olivia was on vacation and came into the police station as soon as she was home. She was never in the flat where the roommates never actually saw her.

Matthew and Andrew were the same person. He had been Sadie’s boyfriend–he was questioned in regards to her disappearance but ultimately wasn’t charged.

Lewis’s timeline at the beginning of the book was in the past. He was Sadie’s dad, not Olivia’s.

Lewis was the one impersonating Olivia. He had started a fake account in her name to trick Andrew into talking to him and perhaps admitting something about Sadie’s disappearance. Later, he maintained the accounts as a kind of homage to his daughter, using her phrases and memories he had of her.

He also had befriended Zack (the mugger that Genevieve stabbed who later died). When Zack died, Lewis and Zack’s brother David began conspiring to ruin Julia’s life like she had ruined theirs.

Eventually, Andrew messaged the fake “Olivia” again, seeming like he was going to confess something. That put Lewis’s plan into motion: he crafted this fake Olivia, and was going to make her disappear just like Sadie in hopes of getting the police to wonder why two people in Matthew/Andrew’s orbit had disappeared.

Lewis was the one who threatened Julia. David had helped him deepfake Olivia onto the CCTV at the bar, but forgot the alley deadended so she disappeared into thin air.

Once Julia figured out who was blackmailing her, she and Lewis teamed up to figure out what happened to Sadie.

Sadie was still alive. She had been stealing passports (her father worked for the passport office) and giving them to immigrants. Jonathan (Julia’s partner) had been running passports as a side hustle and found out Sadie was giving them away.

The Ending:

Jonathan kidnapped Julia to stop her from finding Sadie. Her informant found and saved her. Julia tried to admit to Genevieve’s crimes, but the charges were dropped. At the very end, we find out that Lewis and the informant threatened the opposing lawyer to get her to drop the charges.

The Review: 

Thank you to @bookclubgirl for this gifted copy! I so enjoy Gillian McAllister’s writing. I thought Wrong Place Wrong Time was so clever and unique, so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Just Another Missing Person.

My favorite thing about McAllister’s thrillers is how strong her characters are. I really loved Julia as the MC and how her past complicated her search for the kidnapper. There was even a hint of marriage narrative as Julia struggled to balance her career with her home life.

The plot unfolds beautifully in ways I didn’t expect, and I was on the edge of my seat trying to figure out the connections.

If you liked the magical realism component of Wrong Place Wrong Time, we don’t get that in Just Another Missing Person. Regardless, it’s another thriller I strongly recommend.

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