Every single character in this novel lies and keeps secrets. Also, little by little we learn how cold and horrible Emily is.
Days go by and Daisy is still missing. Jess feels she needs to talk and tells James and Emily about Max, the boy Chloe is dating and has kept a secret. Jess discovered them when she had to return home earlier from some club for Daisy, and as she was there, Chloe and Max came from the back door. What is important here is that that day Chloe must have used the key for the back door that Emily keeps in the shed. When James goes to check the check, he sees that the key is gone.
Later they tell DCI Jacobs, who is in charge of the case, and she questions Chloe. She admits to having been dating Max Fuller for four months, but she swears that Max respects her and that they just hang out together and they haven’t had sex yet. We learn that this is a lie, because Jess knows that Chloe and Max have been having sex for a couple of months, and it was Jess, who took Chloe to the planned parenthood clinic.
The policed questions Max, but he is allowed to go since he has an alibi. That night – New Year’s Eve – he and Chloe were at a party, so he doesn’t have anything to do with Daisy’s abduction. A couple of days later DCI Jacobs asks Jess and Emily about James returning home later the previous day since Max was given a beating the same evening. Both sisters lie, telling that there was nothing wrong with James. Emily was already in bed and didn’t see her husband, but she knows that it was James who attacked the boy. And Jess saw James’s dishevelled appearance the night before, so even though she is not certain, it could be possible for James to be behind the attack.
Days later the police tells them that Max has a criminal record for drug use and small pilfering. His alibi falls through when there are a couple of hours when Max and Chloe couldn’t be accounted for. Chloe claims that they walked to the harbour and hung out there, and the CCTV cameras prove that. Yet, when they search the young man’s car, they find several objects belonging to the Kings that the boy had stolen. So he is now the prime suspect, but he is left out on bail.
Apart from Max, there are many things that this family is hiding. First, both Jess and Emily lie about the reason why they hadn’t been in contact for sixteen years. We have just snippets of what happened. There was a party which both sisters attended, and it is not clear but Jess slept with Simon, a boy who Emily had liked. Jess claimed that she didn’t remember a thing – maybe she had one of her episodes – and that means that the boy raped her? Emily was furious with her sister, and then she fell pregnant and Emily didn’t leave her sister an opportunity to decide what to do. She arranged for her to have an abortion, and that was all. I imagine that after that Jess went away, but we still don’t know all the facts. Apparently, Jess and her mother fell out. Maybe the woman learnt about the abortion from Emily? The woman was a very pious Catholic, and she might not be able to forgive that sin. We know that while she was away, Jess wrote a letter to her family, and four weeks later she got a response from Emily, who without any kind of affection told her that their dad had passed away and she should avoid contact with their mother for the time being.
This is just one example of Emily’s controlling, cruel personality. In her memories Jess revisits the time when their mother had to look after their grandmother and went away. They were left with a nanny, who Emily didn’t like, and she tried to make her job more and more difficult, deciding to stay away later and later every day. And then one day Jess saw Emily take a twenty-pound note from their father’s wallet and put it in the nanny’s purse, and after that they didn’t see the nanny again.
She also lied to James for years. I think it was nice of Emily to look after Chloe for years, but I think it was because she liked it. When Chloe started to grow up and became a teenagers, it wasn’t so much fun, and her attitude changed. She has always been the one in control, and she lied to James for years when he thought she had gone off her pills, but she still took them. Actually, Emily didn’t want a baby, but when James started talking about fertility treatments, she finally relented and left the pills, and soon she got pregnant.
Emily is so possessive and controlling. She is also selfish in her own grief now. She claims she hates everybody and is suspicious of everyone, which in a way is comprehensible. She hates the fact that her sister was the one to kiss and see Daisy for the last time. She is also suspicious of the relationship between Jess and James. I was also at first, but I think there is nothing going on. Yet, Emily spies on him one day, and she is shocked to find James leaving his office with Jess at lunchtime. The reason is quite simple. Jess decided to come and find James to ask him about the reason why he lied to the police about him coming home that night later. Neither he nor Emily told the police that they didn’t arrive home together, so Jess wonders why they decided to lie about that. Yet, during that lunch James was so charming and Jess was having such a nice time that she was unable to ask him.
There is a person who Emily also suspects. Marta Álvarez was Emily’s nanny for two weeks, but when those two trial weeks finished, Emily told her that she didn’t want her for the job. Marta got very angry because she had left another job go, and now in a recent meeting with the police and the community in the island, she starts making accusations against James and Marta. The police runs a check on Marta and they discover that she was fired from a previous job because she hurt a baby. So she is now on the focus of the police as well.
I am intrigued and totally clueless about what happened to Daisy. Did anyone take her away to hurt Emily? It is clear that Emily has many enemies. Her stepdaughter hates her now as she claims that Emily changed and was not the woman who she came to love when she was a child. It is curious because we know that Emily also thinks that Chloe is not the same person any longer.
So where is Daisy? Is she dead or is someone keeping her? And who is that person?