Publication year: 2011
The prologue of this novel introduces us to a young woman, Anya.
She is in a truck with a man called Rafa. She is there on holiday after Christmas, and she feels happy to be away from January’s cold weather. We don’t know what Anya is up to, but Rafa tells her that this will be incredible.
Then the following chapter there is a phone call in the middle of the night. Kate, Anya’s sister, is woken and told that her sister has gone missing. All through the night Kate and her husband, Rob, deal with the uncertainty of what has happened to Anya. She was in Mexico, something that Kate didn’t know, and she went missing two days ago. Her clothes, money, mobile and hiking gear was found near a pool where she and the man who was with her, Rafael Montoya, had gone diving. The Mexican authorities think that she had an accident and are trying to find her in the pool. Kate thinks that this cannot be possible as her sister is an expert diver. Actually, she was a diving instructor in Bali, so if she was able to dive in open waters, a pool couldn’t have posed any problem for her. As Kate finds more information about Mexico and crime, she starts thinking that her sister has been abducted, which is what he tells the international services she calls. The woman who talks to her says they can’t meddle in Mexican matters, but she will keep updated of all developments.
As the night develops, we learn more about this family. Anya is the middle sister, Kate being the eldest, and there is a younger sister, Emily. Anya has always been different, full of stamina and energy, cheeky, unconventional, and a free spirit. I have the impression that Anya eclipsed Emily. We haven’t seen Emily at all apart from very brief memories of Kate. Actually, Kate doesn’t make any attempt to contact her younger sister, which makes me think there is something going on. I have even thought that maybe Emily is not alive and that is why Kate is so anxious apart from the circumstances. Or maybe this is the way it is between the sisters.
Kate has contacted her parents. Her mother lives in California, and we gather she has a drinking problem, and she is part of some strange church. Her father is not well and lives with a woman, Maura, who I imagine is his second wife, a woman who is difficult and doesn’t have a good relationship with his daughters. Actually, when Kate tries to talk to her father, Maura tells her that it is not possible as he has taken some medication and is sleeping. Kate is angered by the way Maura talks to her, but she refrains from snapping, and when she rings off, she thinks that at least her father is temporarily spared the worry. From Kate’s memories we know that it was her mother who left, which was a blow to her father. I wonder what caused the end of their marriage or why her mother left like that.
Kate is now contemplating to fly to Mexico as she thinks there should be someone out there pressuring the police to do something. Her husband puts his foot down, telling her that she can’t go as she has a two-month baby to look after. He is right. Then she has an idea and calls the person she knows will help her. It is Will, Anya’s best friend. Will doesn’t hesitate and agrees to do as Kate tells her. His girlfriend is stunned and can’t believe he is doing this. The row escalates, and in the end Will admits that the last time he saw Anya they kissed, and this admission puts an end to Will’s current relationship. We know that Will has been in love with Anya for years, but she has always fobbed him off. He always thought that it was better to be her friend that nothing at all, but now he is not so sure about it. When he witnessed in one of their nights out Anya making out with a guy, he decided he had to do something and move on. So shortly afterwards he met Liesel, but even though Liesel is lovely and interesting, he realised that the relationship wasn’t working as he wasn’t into it. He thought about ending the relationship soon, but with the news about Anya the break-up has happened not in the way he wanted.
Now Will is on his way to Mexico. Kate is informed that the divers haven’t found her sister in the pool, but they have found an submarine cave and they are going to search that. Kate is pretty sure that Anya wouldn’t go to a cave as she is scared of contrived places, but the woman on the other end of the line listens to her but Kate knows that her words won’t make a difference. Rob is also frustrated, and then in the last page we see that Kate notices a magazine and she says she has an idea. I imagine that now Kate will contact the press and put pressure for her sister to be found.