99 Red Balloons by Elisabeth Carpenter

My review

The story of a missing child is the way the trend goes nowadays, and I confess that I do like such stories. I tried my best to like this book in toto, unfortunately, it failed me in most parts. 

A missing child + worried parents and aunt + investigation = suspense thriller. This book just had an added flavor of another missing child two decades prior. The first part was pretty much routine with the same scenarios with parents worried, parents hiding secrets. It was the second part which added a different flavor. A grandmother seeing the missing child report in the papers, the family on the television and recognising one of the family members. 

I liked the suspense which author Elizabeth Carpenter had created in this storyline: 2 children kidnapped in the space of 20 years and grandma recognising the family member. Who was this family member? What was the secret the parents were hiding? Who was the first child kidnapped? Where were the two children? What was the secret that bound the two families? Would the children be found alive or dead? 

All these questions raised the curiosity factor to another level at the beginning of the story. But that’s where it ended too. The story got going in hiccups, one step forward two steps backward. The characters were very weird, they were not well developed. I found them selfish, and I could not connect with any, except the missing children. I felt sad for them. 

The storyline which raised so many questions, fell flat in the middle of the book. It took me 4 days to read this book, when it normally takes me 4 hours to read a suspense thriller. I finished the book as I wanted to know the secret. 

Plot was good, but delivery staccato, there were times, I wanted to push the story on. 

Prose was good, but the thoughts and dialogues vague, I wanted to tell them to get on with it. 

The story was good, but the characters unlikable, I wanted to ask then if they really were a family. 

To summarize, it is a book meant to be read when there is nothing else to read… Hahahaha will that ever happen with such a huge TBR pile?? 

My rating : 3 stars

About the Author 

Elisabeth Carpenter lives in Preston with her family. She completed a BA in English Literature and Language with the Open University in 2011.

Libby was awarded a Northern Writers’ New Fiction award, and was longlisted for Yeovil Literary Prize (2015 and 2016) and the MsLexia Women’s Novel award (2015). She loves living in the north of England and sets most of her stories in the area, including the novel she is writing at the moment. She currently works as a book keeper.

Book blurb 

When eight-year-old Grace goes missing from a sweetshop on the way home from school, her mother Emma is plunged into a nightmare. Her family rallies around, but as the police hunt begins, cracks begin to emerge.
What are the secret emails sent between Emma’s husband and her sister? Why does her mother take so long to join the search? And is Emma really as innocent as she seems?
Meanwhile, ageing widow Maggie Taylor sees Grace’s picture in the newspaper. It’s a photograph that jolts her from the pain of her existence into a spiralling obsession with another girl – the first girl who disappeared…

Product Details 

Publication date : 24th August 2017

Publisher : Avon

Language : English 

Available on Amazon

Could have been a better suspense 

15 thoughts on “99 Red Balloons by Elisabeth Carpenter

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