True Crime Story by Joseph Knox
Publication Date: December 7, 2021
Summary from NetGalley:
What happens to all the girls who go missing?
The thrilling story of a university student’s sudden disappearance, the woman who became obsessed with her case, and the crime writer who uncovered the chilling truth about what happened…
In 2011, Zoe Nolan walked out of her dormitory in Manchester and was never seen or heard from again. Her case went cold. Her story was sad, certainly, but hardly sensational, crime writer Joseph Knox thought. He wouldn’t have given her any more thought were it not for his friend, Evelyn Mitchell. Another writer struggling to come up with a new idea, Evelyn was wondering just what happened to all the girls who go missing. What happened to the Zoe Nolan’s of the world?
Evelyn began investigating herself, interviewing Zoe’s family and friends, and emailing Joseph with chapters of the book she was writing with her findings. Uneasy with the corkscrew twists and turns, Joseph Knox embedded himself in the case, ultimately discovering a truth more tragic and shocking than he could have possibly imagined…
Just remember: Everything you read is fiction.
ARC provided by Sourcebooks via NetGalley for an honest review.
This book very much reads like a true crime book, so I kept finding myself having to remember that it is a work of fiction. I also very much struggled with the format, especially at first. Once I got used to it, I was able to enjoy the reading a bit more, but overall this book just sort of didn’t work for me.
The format was what really made it hard for me to enjoy the story. It left me confused at first until it was explained what the author was doing. Evelyn, the fictitious author, interviewed all of the people involved in Zoe’s disappearance, and then spliced these interviews together to make the narrative. It made for a disjointed and slow story in my opinion. Also, I never felt like I got to know any of the characters to feel connected to any of them, most importantly Zoe, the victim.
Another thing that kind of bothered me, was that I didn’t like any of the characters, except for one. They were all self absorbed, horrible people. I think I suspected all of them at least once throughout the book, and there were a few that I was really hoping would get their comeuppance, but they never did.
However, even with these issues, I did find the mystery of what happened to Zoe, quite compelling and I found myself wanting to slog through the book to find out what happened. There are quite a few twists and surprises along the way that kept you interested through the slower parts. The ending was the biggest surprise of all, and unfortunately it felt unfinished. While we do finally get the culprit, we never really get a motive or a resolution to Zoe’s disappearance.
Please don’t decide to not give this book a chance based on my opinion. There are a ton of people out there who loved the book and weren’t bothered by the format like I was. If you like True Crime or books that feel like they are real, then you should give this one a chance.