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What Happened to Nina? (Dervla McTiernan, HarperCollins)

Nina and Simon are teenage sweethearts, but cracks are starting to show in their relationship. After a stint of long distance, they decide to get away to Simon’s parents’ new holiday home by a lake. When a rock climbing incident goes wrong, Nina’s creeping doubts intensify. Her parents are thrown into a panic when only Simon returns home. Nina’s mother, Leanne, has always been self-sufficient, tough and innovative, but in her desperation to find out what’s happened to Nina, she goes several steps too far, causing even her family to think she might be losing her mind. Meanwhile, Simon’s wealthy father spreads false information online to muddy the waters of public opinion and paint Nina’s parents in an unsavoury light. In What Happened to Nina?, it’s horribly fascinating and scarily believable to watch as public sympathy for Nina’s parents quickly turns to vile comments, suspicion, condemnation and threats. Bestselling and award-winning author Dervla McTiernan cleverly weaves into the story topical themes of fake news, conspiracy theorists and the sinister nature of hidden abuse, as well as raising the question of just how far parents will go to protect their children. Narrated from the perspectives of detective Matthew, the two sets of parents, and Nina’s younger sister, this thriller had me tearing through the pages, even after the ‘who’ of the mystery had been revealed. A great read for fans of Hayley Scrivenor’s Dirt Town and Emily Ruskovich’s Idaho.

Books+Publishing reviewer: Jemma Morrison is a bookseller with 15 years of experience in the book trade, including as a judge for the 2023 Ockham NZ Book Awards. She is currently studying Publishing. Books+Publishing is Australia’s number-one source of pre-publication book reviews.


Category: Friday Unlocked reviews Reviews