MISSING PIECES by Tim Weaver (Audible Review)
Tim Weaver is a British author that I have been meaning to read more of. I enjoyed some of his early books, but have not kept up with his recent releases, which seem to slip under the radar in Australia.
When I recently took up a free trial with Audible I decided to start with Weaver’s Missing Pieces, which was released in book form earlier this year.
Missing Pieces is not part of Weaver’s David Raker series, but is a stand alone novel about a New York woman, Rebekah Murphy, who becomes stranded on the fictional Crow Island, which is one hundred miles off the American coast and left uninhabited over the winter months. She goes to the island with her brother Jonny out of a sense of obligation, and also to forget about her crumbling marriage for awhile. But when she gets there something goes wrong, and the book opens with her frantically trying to find Jonny and get off the island. Meanwhile detective Frank Travis is trying to find a missing woman, Louise Mason, who vanished into thin air three months ago. With only a few weeks left before he retires, Frank is determined to find out what happened to Louise.
The book opens in dramatic fashion, with Rebekah in a state of panic and despair, as she desperately tries to survive on the harsh island. Her plight immediately raises a lot of questions, and Weaver gradually reveals the ‘missing pieces’ as Rebekah reflects back on what happened before ‘the island’. As Rebekah’s life story is slowly unveiled, some answers are revealed but others are kept hidden and the sense of mystery increases as the book goes on.
The alternating between the past and Rebekah’s current plight on the island, works reasonably well, but does become a bit repetitive after awhile. Just as I was beginning to lose interest, Weaver introduces the character of detective Frank Travis, and the pace and the mystery picks up considerably.
If the first half of the book is a little slow, the second half more than makes up for it. The tension quickly mounts over the final sections and at times I could not stop listening, as the book headed in surprising and totally unexpected directions. There are some exciting set-pieces and the ending provides a host of good twists, and an exciting finale.
The things I really liked about the book, were the well developed characters, especially Frank and Rebekah, and Weaver’s ability to cast suspicion and red herrings with abandon. The mystery as to what is really going-on is maintained until very late in the book and I did not work it out until shortly before the final reveal. The creation of Crow Island is also very good and Weaver brings it alive in a convincing manner.
The way in which the story unfolds, with Rebekah gradually revealing the ‘missing pieces’ to the story, is probably a little contrived, and even though Weaver eventually explains how Rebekah came to be stranded on the island, I am not sure that I was ever really convinced.
As an audio book I thought it was really well done. The narrators, Indira Varma for Rebekah and John Chancer for Frank, were very effective at capturing the essence of their characters and their viewpoints, and were able to smoothly weave in the speech patterns of the other characters. The slow pace of the first half was a little frustrating, if I was reading I would skipped a few pages, but Indira was very good at reflecting Rebekah’s mounting despair and then her determination. She infused her voice with the right amount of emotion, while maintaining clarity in the telling.
Overall, I would give it three and a half to four stars out of five!
Missing Pieces is now available in paperback and on the Kindle and is well worth reading.