The Missing Boy
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Thirteen-year-old Dan hasn’t returned home and his parents don’t know whether he’s run away, been kidnapped – or something worse. For one family the world as they know it is about to fall apart. At first Dan is sleeping rough, revelling in his independence. But with every passing day, his world is becoming darker and more frightening. A hundred thousand children run away each year. Most come back. But will Dan?
Dan’s mother, Eve, a drama teacher, can’t focus; his father, Max, only knows how to flee his own demons; and his aunt, Martha, while trained to control difficult situations as a prison officer, struggles to hold it all together. Dan’s story is told against a grown-up drama of love and shifting loyalties and two sisters who were best friends until Max came between them. Gradually, all three begin to recognise just how badly they have failed the missing boy.
Rachel Billington has written a tense and emotional novel about the day-to-day existence of a contemporary family living through their worst nightmare. Anguish and hope move across the pages until the final breath-taking denouement.
‘The Missing Boy, Billington’s 20th novel, is brilliantly crafted and a compelling read.’ The Spectator
‘The subject (a runaway child) is compelling … this is one of every parent’s worst nightmares and Billington itemises it without flinching … keeps the tension rising and it all feels horribly believable. She is particularly good at showing the adults unravel.’ The Sunday Times
‘Dan is a subtle study; his vulnerability, his innocence, his resourceful intelligence and his dawning moral sense are wonderfully convincing … As in Mark Haddon’s, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (which is on Dan’s bedside table), the young boy’s crisis forces the parental generation to reassess their behaviour, but it does not provide a fairy-tale solution.’ The Daily Telegraph
‘Billington explores the difficulties of growing up and growing older with exquisite attention to detail’ She
‘This easy-to-read tale is moving and poignant’ Star Magazine
‘a well-wrought, honest book that is generous with its insights and tender in all the right places’ Daily Express
‘Highly readable …. written with wisdom and compassion’ The Times