One, two, three… Lisa Dale shuts her eyes and counts to one hundred during a game of hide-and-seek. When she opens them, her four-year-old daughter Ella is gone. Disappeared without a trace.
The police, the media and Lisa’s family all think they know who snatched Ella. But what if the person who took her isn’t a stranger? What if they are convinced they are doing the right thing? And what if Lisa’s little girl is in danger of disappearing forever?
Being a primary teacher, I probably shouldn’t admit that I love watching horror films that involve children. When scrolling through Netflix to find my next B-rate horror movie, I will always choose the one with the ghostly, dead child on the cover. This weird interest has recently branched out into my crime thriller choices: The Ice Twins, Blood Sisters and most recently While My Eyes Were Closed by Linda Green.
This crime novel isn’t your usual ‘whodunnit’ as the reader is aware of the perpetrator from the very start. I really enjoyed this aspect of the book – the smug knowledge that I knew something the main characters were so desperately searching for. Although Linda Green reveals the ‘who’ fairly early on, she cleverly withholds the ‘why’, keeping the plot line engaging and meaningful.
I also really enjoyed Linda Green’s character development, achieved through the use of three character voices: Ella’s mum, Ella’s kidnapper and the kidnapper’s own son, Matthew. Ella, herself, is incredibly cute and somewhat reminded me of Agnes from Despicable Me (it’s so fluuufffy!!). At the tender age of four, Ella finds it difficult to make sense of what has happened to her. Should she trust this person? Why won’t they take her home? Is her mum really unable to care for her? It was heartbreaking to read of Ella’s experience with the kidnapper alongside the chapters of her family’s search for her. Hearing the story from the abductor’s perspective made the story all the more compelling and made me realise that every action, no matter whether it is right or wrong, has a reason behind it.
This story explores every parent’s worst nightmare and does so in a terrifngly plausible way. I was slightly let down by the abrupt ending but, let’s face it, I am rarely happy with an ending to a story, particularly those that require me to invent my own.
A fast paced, addictive read that held my attention to the very end.