Our children always leave us. It is especially hard when it is a girl that leaves home or worse gets married, so that they in essence now belong to someone else too. It is even harder when they leave home unexpectedly and not of their own accord.
Caitlin was twelve when she disappeared, presumably kidnapped. Her parents were so sure she would never have run away. The police tried, but nothing ever came of it. The parents searched high and low, but after four years not only did they take for granted they would never see Caitlin, but the stresses their fragile relationship had gone through cracked and Abby moved out leaving Tom. He couldn’t leave just in case, you know, she came back. Her bedroom was the same as she left it.
On the eve of the memorial service Abby has planned, a lead surfaces from an unlikely source: a local stripper saw Caitlin in the club with a man six months ago. News headlines, police involvement and the girl’s age—she is after all now sixteen—all encourage the kidnapper to turn Caitlin lose and she is picked up wandering the streets. The tension that Bell builds in the story up until this point are high-strung, taut, but tempered somewhat by our knowledge that Caitlin is coming home, after all the author tells us this on the cover blurb.
Similar to Emma Donoghue’s “Room,” a recent novel featuring abduction, the book now takes us on the second journey. Since Caitlin refuses to discuss anything that has happened to her in the years she was away, and will not testify against a man she professes to still want to be with, the homecoming is postponed. Tom makes it his personal mission to find out what has happened to his little girl, but will he be prepared to face the reality that is waiting for him?
“Cemetery Girl” is a parent’s worst nightmare, one steeped in reality in today’s world. It is altogether disturbing, brilliantly engaging, and a must-read for thriller fans.