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The Missing Place by Sophie Littlefield

The Missing Place

by Sophie Littlefield

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7118257,802 (3.42)None
"When two young men vanish from an oil rig in North Dakota, no one seems in a hurry to find them--except their mothers, two women from very different worlds who must work together to find their sons"--



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Two young men with polar opposite backgrounds both choose the oil-boom promise of rural North Dakota as the path for their futures. Despite their differences, Paul and Taylor become friends. When they both disappear during their first year on the job, their mothers are the ones who continue to search and seek, not settling for the vague answers from law enforcement and the oil company itself. Two women will travel to "The Missing Place" in Sophie Littlefield's atmospheric character study. Shay Capparelli is used to the raw, rough edges of life, and she raised her son Taylor to be like her--a survivor. Leaving California behind with little resources and a lot of determination, she heads for North Dakota to find her son. Colleen Mitchell follows her own mother's instincts and travels from her privileged life in Massachusetts to the comparative wilderness of Lawton, North Dakota to locate her son, Paul. With housing and lodging in the area already inadequate due to the influx of workers, Colleen must share a generator-run motor home with Shay. The women have a mutual concern for their sons, but their personalities and life experiences are sharply contrasted--as sharp as the underlying fear that drives each of them to find the truth--to find their boys. The rugged landscape, the unrelenting cold, and the daily reality of life as an oil rigger, all add to the moody bleakness of the story line. As the two mothers form a difficult but inescapable alliance, they learn as much about themselves as they learn about each other. They are not friends, yet they must depend upon each other in ways they never expected. Will they ever learn the real truth about their sons, and will they be able to bring their boys home again? Nothing is as fierce as a mother's love of her child, and these two women will not stop in their quest to be reunited with their sons.

Book Copy Gratis Amazon Vine ( )
  gincam | Sep 6, 2019 |
Started off good but felt let down by the ending. characters a bit underdeveloped and unlikable. ( )
  micahmom2002 | Jan 25, 2016 |
Started off good but felt let down by the ending. characters a bit underdeveloped and unlikable. ( )
  micahmom2002 | Jan 25, 2016 |
When I ended up finding The Silent Sister a disappointment, I was a bit worried that domestic thrillers like this didn't have much more to offer me. I was therefore extra excited to have The Missing Place come along and prove me completely wrong. Although this book definitely fits into that genre and shares a fast-paced tension with other books I've read, the characters and the plot felt very fresh to me. The main characters were both sometimes selfish or mean in pursuit of their sons, but their love for their sons keeps them both very relatable. The author made feel invested in all of the characters whose perspectives she shared. I wanted things to work out well for everyone, even when their needs conflicted with one another, and I loved how challenging that made moral judgements in this story.

The complicated relationships between characters were another novel part of this story. Shay and Colleen, for example, sometimes have the same goals and sometimes their goals conflict. Sometimes they support each other and sometimes they tear each other apart. It also becomes clear as we learn more that Colleen's relationship with her son wasn't as simple as she would like it to be. Through their words and actions, Colleen and Shay both make it clear how much they love their sons. I was very impressed by how viscerally the author made me feel their pain and despair when their sons are missing. The raw emotions portrayed in this book were another thing I loved. If you're looking for something fresh and different, edgy and emotional, I suggest moving The Missing Place to the top of your to-read pile.This review was originally posted on Doing Dewey. ( )
  DoingDewey | Mar 26, 2015 |
Until the recent drop in oil prices, the most exciting thing going on in the oil exploration business was the huge increase in production from places where, just a few years earlier, it had been too expensive even to drill. But almost overnight, because of a perfect storm combining high oil prices and innovative drilling techniques, much of the state of North Dakota found itself experiencing something akin to the mid-nineteenth century California gold rush days. Oil patch workers by the thousands moved to North Dakota. The good news was that wages skyrocketed; jobs were so plentiful that oil companies were desperate to fill them; and some local landowners began to experience wealth beyond their wildest dreams. The bad news was that that the cost of living in North Dakota also skyrocketed; prostitution increased dramatically; and drug trafficking became a major problem. In some ways, it was the Wild West all over again.

This is the setting for Sophie Littlefield’s The Missing Place, a novel in which two young men from very different backgrounds come to North Dakota to get a piece of the action. Both men are looking for alternatives to college, and they figure that the North Dakota oil patch offers the best chance for them to put some real money into their pockets. And, right up until the day they both disappeared, that’s what happened. Now their mothers have come to Lawton, North Dakota, to find their sons.

Until they meet in North Dakota, neither woman has any idea that the other exists. One is a working class woman from California; the other the pampered wife of a prominent Boston attorney. The only thing the women have in common is that their sons disappeared on the same day and have not been seen since. It is soon obvious that the women will never be friends, but it is equally obvious to them that no one, neither the oil company employing their sons, nor the local police, is looking for their boys. If they are to be found, their mothers will have to do it themselves - and it will take both women working together to get the job done.

Throw into the mix an oil company desperate to hide its high rate of injuries and deaths on the job, a police department that is not at all interested in investigating the disappearance of the men, and a local Indian tribe with an ax to grind of its own, and you have the makings of a nicely plotted crime thriller. And that is exactly what the first eighty percent or so of The Missing Place is. The problem with the book is that it does not end with its dramatic, tension-filled climax. Instead, it continues on until all the personal conflicts between its characters have been resolved. This effectively takes all the wind out of the book’s sails and it seems to crawl to its final destination.

I do recommend the book to those curious about what it is like to work outdoors in North Dakota in the dead of that state’s harsh winters. The overall atmosphere of The Missing Place, when combined with the often thrilling search for two young men in way over their heads, makes for exciting reading. I only wish the author had stopped while she was ahead. ( )
  SamSattler | Feb 23, 2015 |
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"Set against the backdrop of North Dakota's oil boom, two very different mothers form an uneasy alliance to find their missing sons in this heartrending and suspenseful novel from the Edgar Award-nominated author of Garden of Stones. The booming North Dakota oil business is spawning "man camps," shantytowns full of men hired to work on the rigs, in towns without enough housing to accommodate them. In such twilight spaces, it's easy for a person to vanish. And when two young men in their first year on the job disappear without a trace, only their mothers believe there's hope of finding them. Despite reassurances that the police are on the case, the two women think the oil company is covering up the disappearances--and maybe something more. Colleen, used to her decorous life in a wealthy Massachusetts suburb, is determined to find her son. And hard-bitten Shay, from the wrong side of the California tracks, is the only person in town even willing to deal with her--because she's on the same mission. Overtaxed by worry, exhaustion, and fear, these two unlikely partners question each other's methods and motivations, but must work together against the town of strangers if they want any chance of finding their lost boys. But what they uncover could destroy them both... Sure to please fans of Sandra Brown and Gillian Flynn, The Missing Place is a moving chronicle of survival, determination, and powerful bonds forged in the face of adversity"--
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