Lizzie turns into the key witness. She identifies the car she saw and she knows who drives it, the father of a school friend; he too has disappeared. She finds the cigarettes he smoked as he was stalking Evie. She even breaks into the Shaw house to search for evidence the police haven't found.
Lizzie's amateur sleuthing stretched credibility. Were the police really so stupid firstly to believe Lizzie's often improbable lies which could so easily have been checked and secondly not to be a little more observant of the perpetrator's wife? And could we really believe that a thirteen year old girl, often clad in little more than a tee shirt and knickers, could spend so many nights roaming around a neighbourhood in lockdown after an abduction? Lizzie's mother seems repeatedly negligent and Evie's mother is almost a complete non-entity as is Mrs Shaw; mature women in this story are faintly drawn to the point of invisibility.
At the same time she is always around Evie's house, comforting her father in a relationship which, from Lizzie's point of view although she does not necessarily recognise it, is swiftly developing into love. And there is the complicating factor of Evie's elder sister Dusty, the one that all the teenage boyts adore, the one who ought to be abducted if anyone is.
Told from Lizzie's point of view this is an interesting exploration of the love between young girls and older men. Lizzie's feelings were intense and sometimes slightly repetitive but always kept away from melodrama. The feelings of the other characters, which the narrator had to surmise from their words and actions, sometimes reaching different conclusions from the immature protagonist, were drawn with deftness and subtlety. At the end the precise natures of the relationships between Dusty and Evie and their father, and the feelings of Evie's dad for Lizzie, are always open to alternative interpretations.
- "We were that close. Sometimes we blinked in time." (p 27)
- "It felt like she knew her own zig-zagging heart, and I was just killing time." (p 27)
- "An old velvet poster that said 'Mott the Hoople', which I always thought was a Dr Seuss book." (p 70)
- "The awkward slouch of boys who grew so fast they themselves seemed bewildered by it, faintly dazed in their own skin." (p 73)
- "You can't ever know anyone's private darkness." (p 148)
A haunting exploration of the feelings of a newly pubescent girl. March 2018; 246 pages