The Missing Hours by Emma Kavanagh – 4*s

Missing Hours


A woman disappears
One moment, Selena Cole is in the playground with her children and the next, she has vanished without a trace.
A woman returns
Twenty hours later, Selena is found safe and well, but with no memory of where she has been.What took place in those missing hours, and are they linked to the discovery of a nearby murder?

‘Is it a forgetting or a deception?’


My Review

An intriguing start which starts with the disappearance of Selena Cole, leaving her children abandoned in a local playground, and then the discovery of the dead body of a local solicitor. DS Leah McKay has been assigned to the Cole case, but is called back to help with the murder case when Selena Cole mysteriously re-appears claiming no knowledge of what happened to her. The murder case is being overseen by DS Finn Hale, who also happens to be Leah’s McKay’s brother. There is something wrong with the Cole case that McKay can’t put her finger on, and things become more muddied and complicated when the same names start cropping up in both cases. Is this just coincidence, or are the cases linked?

I really enjoyed this book, but will admit it took some concentration, especially at the beginning to keep track of who was narrating. The story is told from the alternating viewpoints of McKay and Hale, who occasionally also jump back in their own narratives which meant re-reading to get things straight. In addition to these alternating points of view, we are also presented with interspersed case notes and reports from the files of the company run by Cole and her late husband. The company specialises in K&R cases, or kidnap and ransom to the uninitiated like me. While seemingly unconnected, they reveal snippets that could be relevant to the cases under investigation, but the question is, which bits are relevant and which just serve to obfuscate.

Essentially the story is a good old police procedural aiming to find out who did it and more importantly why. My idea of who the guilty party was changed a number of times as the plot unfolded, this kept me gripped to the end to find out who the killer was and I was totally wrong.

I liked the characters of McKay and Hale, not so much a regular police double act as a sibling pairing with their own problems, especially McKay. This made her a much more troubled but empathetic and realistic character than her more buttoned up brother. I’d like to see more of them in the future, as their personal and working relationship certainly has possibilities.

One aspect of the book that I was surprisingly taken with was the background world of kidnap and ransom. I had no idea of the scale of the problem, or that there is a whole insurance industry designed to cater for and protect individuals and corporations operating in high-risk areas around the world. It was a fascinating insight and added a different dimension to the story.

This was the first book I’d read by this author, but based on this I’m certainly keen to read more and happily recommend this book.

I received a review copy via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Available from Amazon UK,


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