Have you read many books about bigamy? I have never encountered one and Missing immediately pulled me into its plot about two families coming to terms with one man’s enormous lie. So wide-spread are the effects of this lie, in fact, that three books will be required to tell the whole story.
A man named Ron Raven disappears from a trashed, blood-spattered hotel room in Florida and the police believe that he is dead. While investigating the crime scene, they find two sets of identification, one indicating Ron lives in Wyoming and another that shows he resides in Illinois. When the Florida police inform the local authorities of those areas to check into possible family connections, they both come back with affirmations that Ron’s wife and family live in the area. The news jumps on the story and suddenly Ron Raven’s two families are the focal point of national attention.
Ellie in Wyoming married Ron first and, while she’d had hints that her marriage wasn’t perfect, she had no idea that he had an additional family beyond her and her two children. Because Avery in Chicago was assured that Ron had never been married before, she gratefully accepted his offer of marriage when she found herself pregnant. But now, she is the second wife of a possibly dead bigamist and legally her marriage is invalid. She has in fact been a mistress for 26 years.
To add more insult, Ron took out a multi-million dollar loan from Avery’s younger brother, Adam, the president of a small bank in Georgia, on the pretext of developing a vacation resort out of a ranch in Wyoming…Ellie’s home! Because Ron is now presumed dead (and Adam is more than a little peeved at his supposed brother-in-law), the loan is being called in. Ellie and her family must discover what Ron did with the money he borrowed from Adam or they could lose their ranch.
Ellie’s daughter, Megan, takes it upon herself to save the ranch. She personally flies out to Georgia to confront Adam Fairfax and initially finds an incredibly handsome, but cold and vindictive man. Their second meeting is much more constructive and the two form a tentative friendship. Sharing the goal of finding the three million dollars, the two fly out to Mexico on the trail of a lead and find more than they bargained for, including each other.
The story starts off very strong and pulls one into the intrigue of a man playing the part of a devoted husband and father while lying for almost three decades. Once that juicy story dies down, however, the pace drags until the end, when danger inevitably boosts it back up. This might have been due to the fact that there was more narrative discussion than is usually seen in suspense novels. Excessive inner reflection got in the way of the action and did not add much to the appeal of the characters.
About those characters: I had a hard time liking Megan. She was fine up until the moment she consciously turned into the worst of hypocrites. I cannot abide hypocrites. Had she learned her lesson, perhaps I could have gotten over her giant blunder, but she does it again at the end of the novel. Because I didn’t care much for her, I didn’t care too much about the relationship, which was uneven. Maybe the stress of the situation added to the sudden shifts in the status of the relationship, but I found the major mood swings a bit unbelievable.
Despite these annoyances, Missing is still slightly above average. It was intelligent and the bigamy angle was certainly interesting, though not quite strong enough to allow me to recommend this book. However, there are going to be two other books dealing with the Ron Raven aftermath which I might like better, and would definitely give them a try.