Set in the beautiful city of Vancouver, “At the heart of the missing” introduces the reader to some very interesting characters. Life has not treated them fairly, but then, is life ever fair?
“What good are memories if there is no one to share them with? Not a single blood relative left on the planet. No one to witness her life.”
Rose Harrington is twenty-eight. Beautiful and physically fit. She is a fiercely independent and stubborn woman. She loves her career teaching English – unfortunately she does not have a permanent position doing what she loves. As with many women who exude confidence, Rose’s air of bravado hides her insecurities. Never one for friends, she had all she needed with her much loved sister and mother. Rose’s mother Violet has very recently passed away after battling cancer. Her sister, Margo, vanished three years ago – never to be heard from again. Rose and her mother were devastated after Margo disappeared. The sisters were very close, though opposite in both temperament and appearance. They each wore a necklace that was half of a ‘yin yang’ symbol. Now, Rose is alone and feeling isolated. She has sold her mother’s house and plans to take a trip to get away from all the stress and sadness, if only temporarily. Just a few days before her planned vacation, she meets an intriguing man. Vincent attracts her physically, and Rose is lonely and lustful. She craves adventure and sex. She willingly goes with him and postpones her trip away. A decision that is to have dire consequences. For Vincent, in addition to being attentive and very handsome, has several quirks. His apartment is obsessively, scrupulously clean. His cupboards are arranged alphabetically, with labels facing out. OCD for sure, but should she be worried?
“You’re not leaving”.
Shaughnessy Sanjay Flynn is a 38 year-old, mixed race private detective in East Vancouver. He looks Indo-Canadian, so his Irish-Canadian name is oft remarked upon. He too has had his life shattered by a tragic loss, that of his six-year-old son. He holds bitterness and blame towards his wife Amelia, he can barely look at her – let alone live with her. “I’m gutted… Grief does that, creeps in and eviscerates”.
Due to the exorbitant prices of the Vancouver housing market, he lives behind his wife’s house in a tiny ‘laneway’ house.
Flynn is not very busy as a private detective, but that doesn’t mean he is not VERY good at what he does. He is an astute observer of human behavior with a keen attention to detail. His one great failure was when Violet Harrington hired him to find her missing daughter Margo… Though Rose does not blame him for his failure, he blames himself. Three years after Margo’s disappearance and he is still occasionally mulling over her file. Wondering if he has missed something… When Rose announces her intention of taking a trip, Flynn agrees to water her plants and watch her condo on English Bay.
When Rose neglects to let him know she has arrived in Hawaii, Flynn begins to wonder if something is wrong. Then when he finds that she has never checked in to the hotel, he is certain that his instincts are correct. Rose is missing! He enlists the aid of his policeman friend and a missing persons report is filed. Working on gut instinct, Flynn follows some tenuous leads which make him only more concerned for Rose’s welfare…
I read a lot of thrillers. Although I correctly guessed at part of the puzzle of this one, it did in no way detract from my enjoyment of the novel. After a necessarily slow start to provide the much needed background, I found myself feverishly turning pages.
The story was told via the alternate viewpoints of Flynn and Rose. The chapters featuring Rose caused my heart rate to speed up. The chapters featuring Flynn made me feel his frustration, and his feeling of impotence.
“At the heart of the missing” is a character-driven, articulate, modern day thriller. It is not every author who is gutsy enough to write in several different genres. Annie Daylon succeeds via the strength of her writing. Yes, I can safely say that the written word is in good hands with any genre she chooses to write.
I was charmed to notice that in addition to rose petals on the cover, there is also a small violet and a marigold. Once you’ve read it, you’ll get why…
I wish to thank Annie Daylon for generously providing me with a digital copy of her new novel in consideration of a review.
is now available on Kindle
or in paperback
Annie Daylon is a member of both the Federation of British Columbia Writers and the Writers’ Alliance of Newfoundland & Labrador. She credits Louisa May Alcott, Wayne Johnston, Kate Morgan, Jonathan Franzen, Barbara Kingsolver, Stephen Leacock, and Maeve Binchy as the writers who have most influenced her writing. Her novel “Of sea and seed” won the B.R.A.G. Medallion for excellence in indie publishing.
Annie Daylon was born and raised in Placentia, Newfoundland, and is very proud of her Newfoundland heritage. She now lives in Chilliwack, British Columbia, with her husband David and their dog CoCo.