___Nesting here for major triggers___
cn. the book itself describes the after effects of rape, revenge porn and other means of violence. If any of that is triggering or problematic for you, sit this one out.
I grabbed Julia Dahl’s new standalone The Missing Hours on a bit of a whim. I read an interview she gave on the invaluable website crimereads.com and it seemed interesting. I had read The Invisible City a few years ago and enjoyed it well enough for a freshman effort so I decided to check this one out.
It’s clear that Dahl has evolved as a writer. She’s able to take on a difficult, complex subject and out of it pull a story that feels both unique and relevant.
Given the description of the book, I thought this would be a revenge thriller about a wealthy, privileged woman who, after being raped, goes on the offensive to piece back the story and exact wrath on who wronged her. It’s not really that. There are some elements of that but this is really an examination of rape culture as a whole, especially when it impacts the upper crust of society. Dahl makes the point clear: there’s no such thing as a perfect survivor. The characters are young and Dahl lets them be young, full of bad ideas and making mistakes. Slowly, this morphs into a compelling thriller, the results of which I truly did not expect.
If you’re expecting a polemic on rape culture, think again. While there may be elements to that end, Dahl doesn’t have anything unique to say and thus doesn’t try. She’s telling a story and it’s a hell of a story. Worth your time if you can stomach it.