#SheReviews Just Another Missing Person By Gillian McAllister

December 20, 2023

Undeniably, this world is not the veritable utopia we would all (or most) would like it to be. Without doubt, there are subtle (as well as seismically major) forms of corruption in even the seemingly respectable and incorruptible echelons of society. This includes our ‘by the book’ (normally) police force.

These truisms of human nature (in all of its nobilities, alternating with stealthy and obtrusive failings) are expertly examined in stellar English author, Gillian McAllister’s, latest phenomenal crime novel, Just Another Missing Person.

In the novel’s preliminary and causative pages, we are introduced to our chief protagonist, DCI (Detective) Julia Day. Julia lives and works in Portishead, a town on the hauntingly beautiful and windswept English coast, where crime and mysteries are rife.

Julia’s job has corrosively leaked into her home life. In fact Julia, it seems, is never completely ‘off the job’. Her mind whirs constantly over police matters, and views people accordingly. For instance, we are told, when Julia is out for dinner with her English teacher husband, Art, and her teenage schoolgirl daughter, Genevieve, that “Julia is trying to work out if the man at the table next but one is somebody she has arrested before. …….she’s pretty sure she once charged him with murder”.

In the novel’s early stages, Julia is tasked with heading an investigation that is looking for a missing twenty-two year old woman, Olivia Johnson, who works in marketing. CCTV has captured Olivia walking down an alley that is blocked at the end. The conundrum is, Olivia was not seen to be emerging from the alley.

Recently moved into a share house, Olivia’s housemates have raised the alarm. Eerily, Olivia texted them, on the night she went missing, a cryptic text that says ‘please come’, but did not give her location.

Is history repeating itself? A year earlier, Julia and her team of detectives (including Julia’s longtime work ‘buddy’, Jonathan) were working relentlessly on a missing person’s case for a young woman known as Sadie. The detectives never did find Sadie, and had to give up on the investigation.

Julia reflects to herself of giving up on finding Sadie, “None of them could accept it. By the end, they were going over things they’d already looked at twice before. Just desperate”.

Olivia’s distraught parents, Lewis (who works in the passport office) and Yolanda (a social worker) are naturally besides themselves with worry over Olivia’s out of character disappearance.

Will Julia and her ‘hive’ of workers ever locate the enigmatic Olivia? Will the Sadie case forever remain closed and unsolved?

What is the terrible secret that Julia and Genevieve are hiding from the world, even Art?

Can Julia ever forgive Art for being unfaithful to her (they now sleep in separate bedrooms), something he blames on her being so obsessed with her policework and it’s murky vagaries.

Who is Portishead Police’s seedy and cunning informant, Price?

Do Lewis and Yolanda have to accept that, like Sadie, Olivia is never coming home?

Who are the sullen Matthew and the fearful Emma, his mother?

Who was the problematic Zac?

Can Julia and Genevieve ever have peace about their ‘little’ problem?

Will Julia always be ‘married to the job’ and never have the ‘normal’ life she needs to function well?

Gillian has written a formidably intelligent and wise crime novel. Her insights into and astute observations of the human psyche and condition are exceptional.

I read Just Another Missing Person during an abhorrent Brisbane heatwave, and thus loved reading of and escaping into the rain-driven and bitterly cold weather of Portishead.

Bravo Gillian! You have knocked it out of the ballpark with this  demonstratively brave, poignant and shocking novel.

It’s five stars from me. I loved Just Another Missing Person, and can’t wait to read Gillian’s next sterling crime novel.



Your chance to read Just Another Missing Person

 Just Another Missing Person Kindle Edition – $15.99

Just Another Missing Person Paperback – $16.00




Editor’s Note: SheSociety would like to disclose as an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

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