When I first saw the cover of 99 Balloons, the newest release by Elisabeth Carpenter, I was pretty much obsessed. The ominous black and white silhouettes with the lone red balloon had me instantly intrigued, and, after reading the synopsis, this one found its way on to my TBR list.
Eight-year-old Grace goes missing from a sweet shop on the way home from school and her family is thrown into a nightmare. Meanwhile, a woman sees Grace’s story in the newspaper and instantly makes connections to her own granddaughter’s disappearance. As both families begin to crack, everything is called into question and it seems that maybe no one is as innocent as they seem.
This one had a creepy opening. After reading the first chapter, I had actual chills. I am always quite the fan of an abduction story and this one had all the caveats that I would expect in an abduction tale: unreliable characters, ominous tone and red herrings a plenty.
However, I have to say, as much as I loved the plot, I found the narrative style to be a bit confusing. Some of it was clearly labeled and other moments are not. I suppose this could be because we aren’t privy to the identity of the kidnapper, but even some chapters not narrated by the kidnapper were not clearly labeled. I still found this to be a little bit disorienting and it would throw me out of the story as I tried to figure out who was speaking and where I actually was.
Overall, was this my favourite abduction story I have ever read? No.
Was it worth the read? I’d say so.
In fact, this one really had a similar vibe to The Child by Fiona Barton, so if you enjoyed that story then I would say this one would be of interest to you as well!