Highmore Blog Tour poster

The Missing American blog tour

As part of our week-long blog tour promoting Julie Highmore’s first Edie Fox private investigator mystery, THE MISSING AMERICAN, publisher Erik Empson contributes his thoughts on what makes it such a brilliant read. #themissingamerican

THE MISSING AMERICAN by Julie Highmore / 280 pp / available on Kindle, in paperback and hardback / published 11th April 2023

What makes a great book? Good characters, a clever plot, and strong prose. Julie Highmore’s debut cozy mystery has all of these elements in spades.

Her lead protagonist, amateur private detective Edie Fox, is relatable and funny. Her world is slightly haphazard, juggling family life as a young grandmother, and various failed romantic endeavours. She doesn’t take herself too seriously and knows her own shortcomings. Yet it is not just Edie Fox who makes this book, but the supporting cast too. Her office assistant, Emily, is a perfectly caricatured twenty-something: bright and caring, but with her head in the clouds. Her friends, like the spliff-smoking Astrid, are supportive in a highly critical way – just as friends should be.

A plot should contain surprises. This is the game of wits between writer and reader. The reader is led up the garden path, knowing that in a good book they will be, thus they second guess the author. The author, in turn, makes sure they are one step ahead of the second guessing. And this dispositif can fold over many times, creating layers of complexity and adding depth to a story. In THE MISSING AMERICAN, what starts as a search for a missing person, becomes something much more.

And finally, the writing. A good author creates an affinity with the reader not by telling you what a character is thinking, but by showing you. We understand them by their manner and their reactions to situations, rather than by having their inner world laid out. A carefully positioned sigh is often worth much more than a paragraph explaining someone’s exasperation.

The presence of all of these elements makes for a great book. The test is whether, after having read it, we want more. And fortunately, that is a need that can be fulfilled. Julie’s second Edie Fox mystery, THE RUNAWAY HUSBAND will be published in a few days’ time, at the end of May, and we can’t wait.

Download THE MISSING AMERICAN on Kindle now!

The Book Folks

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