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In the vein of The Lovely Bones and The Little Friend, Ghosts of the Missing follows the mysterious disappearance of a twelve-year-old girl during a town parade and the reverberations of this tragedy throughout the town.
On Saturday, October 28, 1995, a girl vanished. She was not a child particularly prized in town...When questioned by reporters, those who’d known Rowan described her as ‘quiet’ and ‘loner’ and ‘shy’ and even ‘awkward.’ Words for pity.
Culleton, New York has a long history—of writers, of artists, and of unsolved mysteries. It’s where Adair grew up before she moved to Brooklyn to try to make it as an artist. But after years away from her hometown and little to show for it, Adair decides to return. She moves back in to Moye House, the old mansion, and current writer’s retreat, imbued with her family's legacy.
Ciaran is a writer staying at Moye House in the hopes of finally solving the mystery of what happened to Rowan Kinnane—his sister, and Adair’s childhood best friend. As the two begin investigating, secrets long buried rise to the surface, complicating their sense of themselves and their understanding of what happened on that fateful day.
With her “knack for capturing heartbreaking moments with a gripping simplicity” (Village Voice), Kathleen Donohoe lures us into a haunting world of secrets and obsessions and shows just how far people will go in search of the truth.
About the Author
KATHLEEN DONOHOE is the author of Ashes of Fiery Weather. Her stories and essays have appeared in The Recorder, New York Stories, and Washington Square Review. She serves on the Board of Irish American Writers & Artists. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and son.
"Donohoe is skilled at cultivating the pervasively disconcerting and melancholy atmosphere that surrounds both Culleton and Adair. There is an impressive weaving of science and mysticism so that when the reader realizes the 'fact' behind a family's curse, it stays just as foreboding as it was when it was just fantastical...A meditation on loss and the power of memory and tradition. A reflective tale of a town's and a girl's histories through the lens of rumor, storytelling, and ghosts."
"[An] evocative mystery...Donohoe’s narrative travels liberally between present and past, anchored by her strong Irish-American women. This well-crafted novel will also appeal to literary fiction fans."
"A missing 12-year-old. A sleepy small town. A return home after a move to the big city. These familiar threads take on an otherworldly quality in Kathleen Donohoe's mystery...Donohoe's richly poetic style—which reminded us at times of The Lovely Bones—and her complex and relatable characters make Ghosts of the Missing a powerful, eerie read."
—Apple Books Review
"Smart, atmospheric...Donohoe unspools her story in a calm, hypnotic style...There is a fairytale air to much of this book and a level of enchantment throughout...An intelligent, evocative tale of grief and loss."
—Washington Independent Review of Books
"Donohoe offers a thoughtful exploration of loss and of how the past reverberates in the present."
"Smart, gorgeously written, and fabulously unsettling, Donohoe’s novel is about a twelve-year-old girl who vanishes during a parade, and how years later, her tormented best friend struggles to find out what really happened to her and why. About the enduring bonds of friendship, the garrote of secrets, and the most important story of all: how we live and how we die. Donohoe casts a remarkable spell. Loved, loved, loved this novel."
—Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You and Cruel Beautiful World
"Kathleen Donohoe is a writer of insight, understanding and authenticity. In Ghosts of the Missing, she has created a poignant, rich, beautifully told narrative that echoes with chords of memory that neither time nor distance can undo.The novel places her in the company of elegant, eloquent storytellers like Kathleen Hill and Alice McDermott."
—Peter Quinn, author of Banished Children of Eve
"Kathleen Donohoe weaves the past and present, terrors imagined and all too real into a fascinating story of myth and mystery...I loved the two girls at the center of this tale and so will you."
—Mary Pat Kelly, bestselling author of trilogy Galway Bay, Of Irish Blood, and Irish Above All
“In this beautiful and compelling novel, past and present move in lock step as their ghosts flow between the years. A thrilling and surprising page-turner in which the mystery of a place and its people unfolds. Reminiscent of one of my favorite books, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, Kathleen Donohoe shows us that what we love and what haunts us are often one in the same.”
—Mary Morris, author Gateway to the Moon
"I didn't stop turning pages until I reached the very end. I absolutely LOVED every minute I spent with Ghosts of the Missing. What a book...Donohoe has written a terrific story chock full of twists and turns that will lead you down a rabbit hole of guessing games."
—A Bookish Way of Life
"Kathleen Donohoe's writing is lyrical, the kind that sweeps you up. And the story is [...] heartbreaking. This is the perfect kind of book club read, one that sparks lots of discussion!"
—No More Grumpy Bookseller