Books Magazine

The Disappeared Girl by Martin j. Smith- a Book Review

By Gpangel @gpangel1
The Disappeared GirlThe Disappeared Girl by Martin J. Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Disappeared Girl by Martin J. Smith is a 2014 Diversion Books publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Melissa, a young woman that was adopted at the age of five and now finds herself pregnant and she is told she should attempt to discover her family history for the sake of her unborn child. When Melissa begins asking questions as well as remembering some odd things from before the age of five ,her father, Jim Christensen, goes to Melissa's Uncle Michael for answers. Michael had arranged the adoption for his brother and sister in law when they discovered they would not be able to have children. He went through a lot of trouble and while everything looked like it was on the up and up, the truth was Jim and his wife just didn't probe for details. They were just thankful to have Melissa.
Michael is a man with a conservative public persona. He is a talk show host on the cusp of going from the local market to the national market. An airplane that has been discovered in the Monongahela River could dredge up a plethora of trouble for Michael. To make matters worse, his niece has begun to remember bits and pieces of her ordeal as a child and both she and Jim are pressuring him hard to give up some answers. When Michael remains a vague as possible, Jim and Melissa decide to try and track down her birth parents on their own. What they discover will stun them and their entire family and will change the comfortable lives they have been living forever.
This was an incredible story that had me interested from the first chapter and my attention never wavered. Melissa is an interesting girl that has always had some emotional problems. She has a hard time coming to terms with her current situation at first, but begins to channel all her emotions and energy on finding out her family medical history. Having been adopted as a small child instead of at birth could be part of her troubles. Now that early memories are surfacing the irony lies in the fact that her adoptive father is a well known memory expert.
The story will take us back in time to Argentina during a complicated period of time within the country. Michael had managed to save a child that had fallen prey to the country's "Dirty War" where an incredible amount of people had disappeared. As a result, the situation was ripe for shady adoptions to occur.
When Michael finally returns to the states, he picks his life back up and becomes successful with his talk show, leaving all the incidences of the past in the murky waters of the Monongahela River. But, now the time has come to pay the piper and Michael is trying to maintain his professional life and protect himself and others from the sins and tragedies of the past. If any of the information from the adoption and how it was all arranged were to come to the surface, Michael's promising career would go up in smoke and he could be facing criminal charges, but not only that, there are others involved and their very lives depend on him keeping their secrets.
The tension is incredible as we try to figure out what happened in Argentina, how Michael was involved, if Jim had any idea what strings Michael had pulled to get the adoption passed , and if Melissa is in danger, and as we watch Michael really start to sweat , knowing deep down that after all these years, his darkest secrets are about to be exposed. The plot was perfectly paced and gave the reader just the right amount of information, at just the right time to keep those pages turning. The story is gut wrenching as I began to piece together the puzzle , I couldn't believe what I was reading. Wow, just wow. The emotional journey for Melissa is a bittersweet ride. There is much hope and much love and much support for this young woman and we know she will still have a lot of issues to work through, but she will be stronger and more at peace now. I'm going to pull out the 5 star rating on this one. A+
THE DISAPPEARED GIRL BY MARTIN J. SMITH- A BOOK REVIEWAuthor Martin J. Smith is editor-in-chief of the monthly Orange Coast magazine and a former senior editor of the Los Angeles Times Magazine. He wrote three crime novels, "Time Release," "Shadow Image," and the Edgar Award-nominated "Straw Men," before turning his writing energy to nonfiction books, including "Oops: 20 Life Lessons from the Fiascoes That Shaped America," "Poplorica: A Popular History of the Fads, Mavericks, Inventions and Lore That Shaped Modern America" (both with co-author Patrick J. Kiger), and "The Wild Duck Chase." Diversion Books published his fourth series novel, "The Disappeared Girl," in March 2014. Smith lives in Southern California.  

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