Review: The Return of Ellie Black by Emiko Jean

The Return of Ellie BlackThe Return of Ellie Black by Emiko Jean
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ellie Black has been missing for 2-years when she’s suddenly found by hikers in the woods of Washington State.

She’s distraught and disheveled, but where exactly has she been? Detective Chelsey Calhoun is shocked by Ellie’s reappearance, but unfortunately, Ellie’s not offering up a lot of answers. The mystery lingers.

For Chelsey, any missing person case hits close to home. Her sister, Lydia, went missing when they were just teens, and ever since, Chelsey has been searching for closure for herself, and any other missing girls out there.

As Chelsey begins questioning Ellie, she’s not able to get any real answers from her. It feels off, like Ellie is hiding something, but what? She’s a victim here, right?

This novel is insta-compelling. We kick off with Ellie being discovered and from there, it’s a ride. We get a lot of different perspectives, and even different points in time, as we begin to build out the truth behind this mystery.

I was initially surprised by all the perspectives, but somehow, it just worked. I also loved the tone from the start, how mysterious it all was.

This definitely kept me guessing and I appreciated how Jean continually added to the mystery. What started out as the mystery of what had happened to Ellie, ultimately evolved into so much more.

I thought Jean had some very clever reveals and I loved the thoughtful way she explored the topic of the exploitation and victimization of women.

Overall, I was impressed with this. The tone stood out for me. I’m not sure quite how to explain it, but it felt distinctive from other Missing Persons Thrillers. It’s quite character-drive, but so well-executed.

Thank you to the publisher, Simon & Schuster, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I’m looking forward to reading more from Emiko Jean!

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