I was delighted when 99 Red Balloons by Elisabeth Carpenter dropped through my letterbox as it looked like just my kind of read. I’d like to thank Sabah Khan for sending me a copy (and for the lolly that has rapidly been eaten!)
Published by Avon Books, an imprint of Harper Collins, 99 Red Balloons is available for purchase here.
99 Red Balloons
Two girls go missing, decades apart. What would you do if one was your daughter?
When eight-year-old Grace goes missing from a sweetshop on the way home from school, her mother Emma is plunged into a nightmare. Her family rallies around, but as the police hunt begins, cracks begin to emerge.
What are the secret emails sent between Emma’s husband and her sister? Why does her mother take so long to join the search? And is Emma really as innocent as she seems?
Meanwhile, ageing widow Maggie Taylor sees Grace’s picture in the newspaper. It’s a photograph that jolts her from the pain of her existence into a spiralling obsession with another girl – the first girl who disappeared…
My Review of 99 Red Balloons
When a child goes missing it will be the start of a catalogue of events to affect many lives.
Crikey! What a tangled web we weave! I thoroughly enjoyed 99 Red Balloons. It’s actually quite difficult to review without giving too much away as its plot races along, but suffice it to say it’s a cracker of a story, cleverly thought out and hugely entertaining in its execution. Elisabeth Carpenter is so skilful in ending each chapter with a sentence that takes the breath away and makes the reader desperate to know what happens next. I also thought the exploration of identity and relationships was an extra element that added depth to the story so that 99 Red Balloons isn’t just another run of the mill crime thriller.
All the characters have a fascinating part to play and their first person narratives twist and weave so that I was completely swept up in the story. I liked Maggie best as she carries the events and grief of her life with dignity and fortitude. It’s the brilliantly written direct speech that reveals so much and each individual has a clear and distinct voice that adds layer upon layer to what is happening.
99 Red Balloons made me consider the impact of a missing child not just on the child and their family, but on the police and wider community too. I want to say so much more but am fearful of giving away the plot so suffice it to say 99 Red Balloons is such a good read and I highly recommend it.
About Elisabeth Carpenter
Libby Carpenter lives in Preston with her family. She completed a BA in English Literature and Language with the Open University in 2011.
Libby was awarded a Northern Writers’ New Fiction award, and was longlisted for Yeovil Literary Prize (2015 and 2016) and the MsLexia Women’s Novel award (2015). She loves living in the north of England and sets most of her stories in the area, including the novel she is writing at the moment. She currently works as a book keeper.