Twenty-two years old with a journalism degree from UCLA and a promising entry level position at a television station, Madeline Patterson is ready to take on the Universe. Raised by two loving parents, adored by her grandmother, protected by her dog, Pepper, and supported by her best friend—Madeline has it all. There’s only one thing missing—literally missing—her identical twin, Melissa.
When Madeline and Melissa were three-years-old, their mother was carjacked in broad daylight while taking them to a doctor’s appointment. She was able to get away with Madeline in tow, but the assailants left the scene before she could rescue Melissa. A long and massive search ensued, but Melissa was never found and is believed to be dead. However, a dream Madeline has on her twenty-second birthday, wherein Melissa appears to her as a grown woman pleading for help, convinces her Melissa is still alive. Against her parents’ wishes, Madeline vows to find her twin. However, in doing so, she unknowingly stumbles upon a series of startling clues that point to her parents’ possible involvement in Melissa’s disappearance. Paralyzed by fear, Madeline doesn’t want to face what could possibly be the ugly and grim truth about her parents. However, her desire to find Melissa propels her forward—but nothing could prepare her for what she discovers.
After reading books by Alretha Thomas over the years I can HONESTLY say I never know where she is going to take the reader next.
The book MISSING MELISSA is like nothing I have come to expect from her, and that is what makes her the literary treasure that she is. The book takes us not only into the search for a sister but for the truth: neither of which prove themselves to come easy for Madeline (Maddie). What I really took to, however, was the way the author was able to get us to understand that although not only easy to accept the truth is something we all must come to grips with.
There are secrets and lies that are revealed but there is also the ability to realize the power of the truth and what it can do to free the characters from their guilt and mistakes. Will it bring back a sister many have given up on or will it provide the closure that Maddie and others want? This is what readers will see as they take the journey from chapter to chapter in this fast-moving read.
Definitely a book that will have you talking about it long after the final chapter, MISSING MELISSA is a treat well worth your time.
Missing Melissa is Alretha Thomas’ eighth novel but first mystery. In it, readers are introduced to twenty-two year old Madeline (“Maddie”) Patterson, a recent college graduate with an entry level position at a local television station. Maddie is just getting her first taste of real freedom by moving out of her family home and into an apartment with her bestie, Ruby (and her doting dog Pepper). She’s also found the courage to finally explore the most traumatic event of her past: the disappearance of her identical twin sister who is feared dead following a carjacking when both girls were three. Though Maddie and her mother were present on that long ago day, they escaped their attackers. And while the family has worked hard to put the event behind them, Maddie is convinced that Melissa is still alive—and that she’s been visiting her dreams to tell her so.
Despite her family’s misgivings, Maddie meets with the local authorities to pursue reopening the investigation. She is met with resistance due to the time that has elapsed since the crime (with the exception of one officer who takes an interest in more than just the case), but takes to Facebook under Ruby’s tutelage to share her mission with the world. As momentum begins to intensify, Maddie’s network comes on board to cover the cold case—and soon “Missing Melissa” is once again top-story news. But as tips begin to flood in, it’s Maddie’s own inquiries into the past that cause her to begin questioning the motives of her nearest and dearest. And, regardless of what she discovers, there is one absolute truth: nothing will ever be the same.
Thomas, who has a background in journalism and is also a playwright, writes with alacrity in this impressive genre debut. Not only are her characters engaging and multi-dimensional, but they also achieve that rare balance of being all too human but believably so. The mystery itself is both complex and intriguing, and the author’s subtle use of misdirection and red herrings should give even the most discerning reader pause. Take note: Alretha Thomas is a name to remember … John Valeri, Hartford Books Examiner
Missing Melissa is a book that I would categorize as a “Cozy Mystery”, years ago I belonged to a book club by the same name and these were the types of books we read; good old fashioned who-done-its and mysteries. In more recent years I’ve been known to read slightly darker thrillers but I’m so glad I decided to give this one a try! Stepping into Maddie’s world was a breath of fresh air and I adored everything about her! She’s such a strong female character who knows what she wants and will stop at nothing to achieve her goals!
Maddie’s life may seem perfect on the outside; she’s recently graduated from college, has a new job at TV Station, and is getting ready to move into her first apartment with her best friend Ruby. She’s even surrounded by a wonderful (and sometimes hilarious) cast of characters; her parents who she has an amazing relationship with, Ruby who’s always been there for her, Pepper who clearly has no idea he’s really a Mastiff, and even a quirky little grandma who’s recently been hitting the bottle a little hard! But despite her seemingly idyllic life Maddie is clearly missing something, her sister Melissa who was kidnapped when they were just 3 years old.
After an extensive search by the police and no further evidence the case was closed and Melissa presumed dead. It’s now 19 years later and Maddie has never gotten over the loss of her sister, her twin; who could blame her?? Recently, Maddie’s been having dreams of Melissa; ones in which she’s very much alive and begging for her sister to come find her, to save her. It’s these dreams that give Maddie the courage and the hope needed to re-open her sister’s case. She reaches out to a local cold-case detective named Sam and together, along with Ruby (and Pepper) they search out the truth of what really happened to Melissa. There’s a nice romance that builds between Maddie and Sam but I like that it didn’t detract from the overall mystery and it really fit in naturally with the story-line.
Author, Alretha Thomas did a great job keeping me on the edge of my seat from start to finish! I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough; I just had to know what really happened and whether or not Melissa was still alive. About halfway through the story I thought I had it figured out, I was sooooo pleased with myself too! I love it when I think I’ve outsmarted an author and figured out the big twist before they want me too :) Then I kept reading…………………….. then there’s this bombshell and I’m like what!?!?.............. NO…………… FREAKING…………….. WAY!!! What the?? How the heck?? I totally did NOT see that coming!!!! Brilliant, brilliant ending!
This was my first novel by Alretha Thomas but it most certainly won’t be my last! This was a great read & I would absolutely recommend it for Book Clubs, Young Adults and Adults who love a good Mystery. I also detected the possibility for a future series (I won’t say how or why) but I’d just like it noted that I’d very much like to see this come to light!!
I received a complimentary advanced copy of this book from the author, Alretha Thomas and NetGalley in exchange for my honest review
Full review can be found at www.mysocalledbookreviews.blogspot.com