Review: Missing, Presumed (DS Manon, #1) by Susan Steiner

28385950★★

If you’ve ever thought to yourself “what would Bridget Jones be like as a homicide detective?” …then I think you’ll want to read this book.

I myself have never wandered about Bridget Jones taking on different career paths, (really she does enough of that in her own stories,) but now that I have some idea of what a DS Jones would look like, I’ll tell you, it doesn’t work.

Missing, Presumed in the first book in the DS Manon Bradshow series – a UK police procedural revolving around the disappearance of the twenty-something daughter of a prominent doctor.

Overall I found this to be severely lacking on the police procedural part and overwrought on the personal “character-study” side, like to such annoying degree that I’m physically disappointed by this book. It’s certainly not what it was presented to be on the jacket or in the blurbs.

This “anecdotal, emotional personal story-time” style of writing is likely why the author draws comparisons to Tana French, but I’ve read Tana French and this in no way, is as poignant, complex or relevant in its attempts to create emotionally stirring connections to the prominent character POVs. To me, there was a massive disconnect between the “main” plot and the endless pages covering family stories and relationship issues and personal whining and blah blah blah, none of which progressed the story or its themes.

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Perhaps it wasn’t supposed to, perhaps it was supposed to create more vibrant, robust characters?

Really all it did was highlight how booooooring most of them were. Nothing is particularly exciting about a detective with typical relationship issues like a jealous girlfriend who he sleeps with after a breakup. The missing girl’s mother had a lot of POV chapters and she was mind-numbling dull in all her fretting and worrying that you read about again and again without forward motion, or reminiscing about family events and past conversations that, in the end, had nothing to do with the conclusion.

If secondary characters like that aren’t going to appear in future novels I don’t know why I have to spend so much time learning about things that ultimately don’t matter.

The main character, though, DS Manon, was the fucking WORSTTTTT.

She is a 39-year-old woman who spends 90% of the novel being an insane girlfriend and crying about her empty, dying uterus.

She was Bridget Jones without the humour or the joyful absurdity. This particular plot environment doesn’t give the space for an immature, neurotic character to be those things in a way that isn’t fucking annoying. And I did not like her one bit.

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After finding a guy she likes, Manon turns into the crazy, stalker girlfriend. Pressuring him with those stereotypical questions like “where is this going?” after only two weeks, and she apparently, at almost forty-years-old can’t find the inner strength or self control to shut the fuck up. And when she becomes too overbearing and the dude breaks up with her, she sends those texts. You know the ones:

Let’s talk. We shouldn’t leave things that way.

I’m sorry how I acted. Give me another chance.

Oh so you’re just not going to talk to me?

That’s find you had a small dick anyway.

You stupid motherfucker cocksucker! I hate you!

I’m sorry. I didn’t mean that.

Please don’t leave me. 

I’m not even kidding. This is what she sends to a grown man with a career and a mortgage and shit.

I felt like someone had found the texts messages I had sent to an ex-boyfriend when I was seventeen. I didn’t like sending them then. I didn’t like being reminded of it any time after that. Honestly, it’s just like please don’t remind me. We should all be growing out of this shit. Seriously, thank Zeus I’m married now.

I couldn’t deal with reading a story where a grown-ass woman is still sending messages like that when she’s supposed to be finding a missing person and focusing on her serious, life-or-death job.

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It just didn’t work for me. It all felt…off. I total misfire when matching tone and behaviour and plot and characters. It’s one thing for a main character to be having relationship issues – if done correctly it can add a whole new layer of drama – but it’s something else entirely for a character, who’s supposed to be in charge and capable, to act like a fucking immature baby and turn the reader off. Manon was embarrassing and painful to read.

The main character completely missed the mark and therefore the whole book suffered. The unimportant, superfluous personal details of everyone else, that didn’t evolve them or their story lines into anything more interesting, dragged it down even more.

The only reason I kept reading this through the endless pages of things that didn’t matter, was to find out how the mystery wrapped up. And this book did the one thing that I can’t stand with mystery novels: at the very end, some random detail in thrown in so that everything can be solved and tied up a perfect Martha Stewart bow, when there was no lead up to this brand new information at any other point in the book.

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This leaves me, as a reader, completely unsatisfied because there was literally no way for me to figure this out or play along.

Not the mention, the missing person, Edith, was just as annoying and immature as Manon. But also dumb. And the wrap-up to her case left me feeling kind of angry, like this whole thing had been a giant waste of my time. I have so many other books to read!

Do you know how big my TBR is? Why is bad dramatic Bridget Jones fanfic Trogan-Horsing it into my list?!

I do not have time for this. And do not text me a million times about it.

Rating: this is a lazy mystery and a bad fictional drama with terribly immature characters.

book source: HarperCollins UK via NetGalley in exchange for a review

🔪🔪🔪


Back of the Book:

Mid-December, and Cambridgeshire is blanketed with snow. Detective Sergeant Manon Bradshaw tries to sleep after yet another soul-destroying Internet date – the low murmuring of her police radio her only solace.

Over the airwaves come reports of a missing woman – door ajar, keys and phone left behind, a spatter of blood on the kitchen floor. Manon knows the first 72 hours are critical: you find her, or you look for a body. And as soon as she sees a picture of Edith Hind, a Cambridge post-graduate from a well-connected family, she knows this case will be big.

Is Edith alive or dead? Was her ‘complex love life’ at the heart of her disappearance, as a senior officer tells the increasingly hungry press? And when a body is found, is it the end or only the beginning?

GoodreadsButton


So APPARENTLY this is a police procedural about a missing girl and the cop who tries to find her, with a heavy leaning towards "character study" esque personal detail. But WHAT I READ was the story of a 40 year old detective who can't stop crying about her empty, dying uterus, and who turns into a absolute crazy person the minute a man shows her attention. WHERE IS THIS GOING? DO YOU LOVE ME? She tries, and fails, to stop herself from asking and then cries in bed after sex while ignoring calls from her precinct to do her job. Honestly I'm pretty disappointed in this. It was heavy on superfluous personal detail on ALLLLLLL the characters, which didn't move the story, or the characters, forward…but was severely lacking in the procedural aspect. The main character DS Manon was embarrassing and painful to read. This completely missed the mark for me in cohesive tone, plot and character. And the ending was awful – throwing in last minute, brand new information that "solved" everything, but had never been mentioned before so the reader had no chance to try to solve the mystery themselves/play along. Completely unsatisfying. It's kind of like if Bridget Jones was a cop… but you know, without all the things that make Bridget Jones entertaining 🙄. Full review on my blog and #goodreads ⭐⭐ . . . #books #bibliophile #bookworm #booklover #booknerd #bookstagram #booklove #bookblogger #bookreview #bookblog #bookalicious #crimefiction #mystery #bookphotography #coverlove #thriller #suspense #netgalley #missingpresumed #bookish #bookdragon #igreads #bookaholic #bookstagrammers #instabooks #bookblog

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2 thoughts on “Review: Missing, Presumed (DS Manon, #1) by Susan Steiner

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