⚠️ This post is part of my Book Chat series, where I talk about details that happened in the book! Think of it like you’re at book club, drinking endless cups of coffee (or wine), and talking with your friends about all your favorite, least-favorite, and head-scratching parts of the book. If you don’t want any spoilers, don’t read this post!
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Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Holy guacamole. I have to be honest, I hadn’t heard of Mary Kubica until I randomly picked up this book during my last book haul. But guys, I’m so glad I discovered her! I know have so many more books added to my TBR list and I can’t wait to get through them all! Okay before we dive in, here’s a quick synopsis over what Local Woman Missing is about.
Synopsis of Local Woman Missing
A string of disappearances have a peaceful suburb on edge. Shelby Tebow is the first to go missing; a young, new mother who never came home from a late-night jog, followed just weeks later by Meredith Dickey and her six year old daughter, Delilah.
Is it a coincidence that Shelby and Meredith knew each other? And that they were both testifying against the same person in an upcoming trial?
The case goes unsolved until eleven years later, Delilah returns. Sparking new questions among the mission to find out what really happened to Shelby, Meredith, and Delilah all those years ago.
⚠️ Stop reading if you don’t want any spoilers! ⚠️
Okay ladies, grab your coffee because it’s about to get real.
I love that this book was written alternating between the present (as Delilah resurfaces), and eleven years prior. Even more-so that the eleven years prior was written from two different time periods: before the disappearance, and right after. So you’re seeing so many perspectives of what happened.
Just like with any thriller, I love to see if I can guess the ending. I’m always trying to read between the lines, and look for clues as to who really did it. I have to be honest: Mary Kubica was so clever in her writing that I was completely following the wrong trail! If I was a detective I would have to begrudgingly hand over my badge because I NEVER saw that coming.
I’ll be honest, I thought for sure the finger was going to point at Cassandra. We know that Shelby was having an affair, and with Cassandra’s accusations and threatening texts toward Meredith, it’s pretty apparent that she thought Marty was cheating on her – so it’s safe to say Shelby and Marty were probably sneaking around, right? (That’s never exactly specified in the book but it’s cool, I can draw my own conclusions – we also never figure out who Jason was seeing on the side but I guess it didn’t matter). Especially when we find out that Cassandra and her family moved right after Meredith’s body was found.
Which, can we talk about that for a second? I feel like it’s in my brain from another crime story or show that abdominal stabbings are rarely deemed as suicides because something about the angle of impact? I mean… we’re talking nitty gritty details here, and I may not even have them right. But that sounded my alarms for just a bit and it surprised me that her death was ruled a suicide that way. I bet Bea was relieved.
It also surprised me that the unknown blood in the garage just kind of got swept under the rug? Like.. no one really decided to try and figure out where it came from? Weird. Two women and a child are missing and one home has random blood in the garage but I’m sure it’s no big deal. Couldn’t possibly be related. Next clue, please!
And who did baby Grace’s biological father end up being?! WAS IT MARTY?!
Okay so back up. We know that Bea and Meredith were driving home together from Bea’s 30th birthday, completely wasted, when Bea accidentally ran over Shelby Tebow in the middle of the street. Shelby, was leaning down to tie her shoe while she waited for her lover to pick her up so they could have a late night tryst while her husband thought she was out for a run.
Panicked and desperate, Bea convinces Meredith to help her load Shelby’s mangled body up in the car, drive off to the woods, bury a hole, and dispose of her there.
Over the next couple weeks Meredith can’t live with what she’s done and tells Bea they need to turn themselves in. Frantic to stay out of jail, Bea hits Meredith over the head with a hammer (while Delilah watches), and then drives Meredith to a run down motel a few towns over, leaving her with a suicide note, some knife wounds on her wrists, and ultimately a knife in the stomach.
Bea rushes home and hides Delilah in the attic of her garage studio, where she keeps her for the next 11 years. Or maybe she hides her before she drives off with Meredith. Actually, yes. I’m pretty sure that’s what happened. She wouldn’t have left Delilah just hanging out after witnessing that. She most definitely hid her first.
I did wonder early on why Kate had such a narrative; seeming that her character wasn’t a huge part of the story. Now that I know what I know, it makes sense. But honestly, BEA?! There was not one sentence in this entire book leading up the accident that made me feel like Bea would be involved. Totally blindsided by that one.
How do you go 11 years with a secret that big? Did Kate and Bea NEVER travel in 11 years? Who would babysit the hidden kidnapee? Did Bea give her food for a week? How did Delilah end up looking so healthy and normal when she wasn’t exposed to sunlight or outside air in 11 years? I mean, yes she had light, which is more than what Carly had, and she was obviously treated better (isn’t that a weird thing to compare? One kidnapper was nice and the other wasn’t? They’re ALL NUTS). And if Delilah could look out that window and see her dad and brother in the backyard, how were they not able to look up ever and see a face staring back?
So.. I found that piece of the puzzle to be a little far-fetched, but I’m not going to split hairs here. I freaking loved this book. Couldn’t put it down, and loved the fact that I never saw that ending coming.
The only other open questions I still have are:
- Did we ever find out who was following Kate and Bea home from their appointment with Dr. Feingold? I don’t remember that coming to a close, so maybe we’ll chalk that up to a coincidence?
- Did Shelby’s lover really not see any of that happening? When she texted him, he was on his way to get her. When Shelby was hit by the car, it took them awhile to load up her body and drive off. How far away was this man?! Which makes me think that maybe it wasn’t Marty she was seeing on the side, because he only lived a couple streets over.
Even with the slightly unrealistic ending, and those questions left hanging open, I gave this book four stars in Goodreads. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough and I loved Kubica’s writing style, story-telling, and the details among all the characters. I can’t wait to dive into another book by her!