The Missing
It is 1890, and London has secrets. For sixteen-year-old Will Winchester, born Willow Winchester and raised as a young man, the safety of his own secrets rests one atop the other. Hiding his gender queerness is important. But so is hiding the ghostly voices of the Missing, which Will hears when no one else can … until the Spiritualist Black Cross Order of Occult Occurrences wants him in their service to keep peace between London’s living and dead.The freedom to be himself may come with a price. Working alongside a patchwork team of misfits and unlikely allies, Will finds he isn't the only one keeping secrets. Someone does not want him to uncover the truth about the ghosts who aren’t just missing from the world of the living, but missing from history itself. Can he find the Missing before he ends up becoming one of them?

The Missing Details

TitleThe Missing
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 19th, 2017
PublisherMonth9Books
ISBN-139781945107221
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Historical, Historical Fiction, Glbt

The Missing Review

  • ✨ jamieson ✨
    January 1, 1970
    IT'S NEARLY HALLOWEEN and I know you know that means you need to get as many spooky recommendations as you can because tis' the season. And boy do I got one for you ESPECIALLY if you're a fan of queer historical fiction (hello! it's the next The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue) I crouched down and snatched it up, framed between both sets of thumb and forefinger to read in the dim light:BLACK CROSS ORDER OF OCCULT OCCURRENCES PRETERNATURAL INVESTIGATIONNO. 98 1⁄2 PORTLAND PLACE PLOTTHE MISS IT'S NEARLY HALLOWEEN and I know you know that means you need to get as many spooky recommendations as you can because tis' the season. And boy do I got one for you ESPECIALLY if you're a fan of queer historical fiction (hello! it's the next The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue) I crouched down and snatched it up, framed between both sets of thumb and forefinger to read in the dim light:BLACK CROSS ORDER OF OCCULT OCCURRENCES PRETERNATURAL INVESTIGATIONNO. 98 1⁄2 PORTLAND PLACE PLOTTHE MISSING is set in Victorian England, and features a group called The Black Cross who hunt down and dispel ghosts and ghouls. It reminded me ALOT of Clockwork Angel and Lockwood and Co, a little of Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue as well as the Supernatural TV Show because of how they investigate the deaths and what is tying the ghost to the place they're haunting. Will, the main character, is clairvoyant. Will's ability to see ghosts draws them to join The Black Cross and help hunt them. One thing I really liked about this was how they had to determine what was keeping the ghosts tethered and go after that. The investigation aspect was really fun. I also liked how there was discussions about if killing the ghosts was really okay. Because the ghosts could talk, interact with their surrounding and befriend the living, there was a lot of discussions about if it was right to hunt them down and I really enjoyed that it seemed pretty unique for a ghost book. “You act as though we’ve killed someone. She’s already dead. It was a bloody ghost.”“Yes, all right, - The girls are dead, but they’d been like us once. Feeling, breathing, thinking, living, and Della still thought and felt, even as a spirit.” CHARACTERSOne thing I loved about the characters was their diversity. I think queer historical fictions are great because it's important to normalise diversity that has always existed. Will, the main character, is gender queer. How they deal with this in their space is one of the main themes of the book aside from the ghosty elements. I thought it was really well written and I loved following Will as they explored this aspect of their identity. I enjoyed the majority of the side characters, but I do think they could have been better developed. For me one of the biggest disappointments of this whole book was Jessie - she is the only female character reoccurring but her development is weak and she was very much the "pretty, but not very smart, giggly" trope girl and that was disappointing. I would have loved a strong, well developed female character to appear in the cast. I sometimes got the characters confused because of their names being similar, but I enjoyed Clement and Cain's characters, you do get a pretty good sense of who they are as the story goes on and I thought both had interesting backstories, as well as a nice bit of grey morality. I also really liked the friendship that grew between the characters and the tiny hint of romance was sweet. I'm really hoping this is a series because I'd love to see the characters have greater arcs and more development across a series - especially Jessie! It's just disappointing not to have even one female character to root for. I'm going to talk about the representation a bit now Will's anatomical sex is female but they identify their gender as somewhere between male and female depending on the day. Will has dressed and appeared in public as male for most of their life. I asked for opinions on the rep on twitter and one person said it sounded bi-gender, another genderfluid. I've decided to just stick with the general describer gender queer - but here is some passages on the representation "I felt both a young lady and a young man. Not at the same time—sometimes, Will; other times, Willow. And despite how it sounds, it all felt very normal to me. My normal. A kind of bi-genderness, something fluid between the two. Simple as that." “Well,” I replied bitterly, “sometimes I am one and then the other. Either way, I’m Will."“It’s not that I don’t want to be a lady,” I said. “Only that some days, I do not orient as one, while other days I do. I don’t mind it. Really, I don’t. I hardly even think about it. That’s how simple it is to me. I suppose I’m fluid between the two, male and female. A mix of both. Intermediate. Queerly gendered.” I'd love comments about the rep from anyone who is gender queer - as I'm cis I didn't want to make a call, just post the info so everyone knows. I also would like to say the author identifies as gender queer so this book can be considered ownvoices. one more note: I find it strange the publishers chose to put a femme model on the cover when there is a heavy emphasis on Will's desire to present as masculine. I do not know who the cover model is or why they were chosen specifically, but I just find this a strange choiceThe main rep aside, I also really liked how some of the side characters were also diverse and how diversity was just kind of sprinkled and normalised in the background. Like mention two women were dating, or that a man had interest in another man at a party, and stuff like that. I also loved how Lenk was able to find a balance between writing a queer story that wasn't hurtful because Will was generally accepted, but also that explored the hardships and prejudices of the time period and people in it. In conclusion I really liked this ! The writing was fun and the book was action packed. The ghost elements were spooky, and I loved the development of the setting and the Black Cross. How Will's identity was built into the story was really well done and we definitely need more historical romances like this. I just hope that the side characters get more development in the sequels.Also this book is free on kindle unlimited as an fyi! thankyou to month9books for providing me with the arc and oppurtunity to read The Missing before release. All these opinions in this review are my own!
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  • Kaylin
    January 1, 1970
    3 Stars “As they linger, any remaining humanness fades. Leaves the shell of a soul, in a sense. Time mutates and warps it all until, suddenly, we’ve got entities beyond our control.” Is there a better way to kick off fall than with an old-fashioned ghost story?(Emphasis on the old fashioned-- as this takes place in 1890s London)Our main character, Will joins a supernatural organization known as The Black Cross. Able t o see spirits from a young age, Will is especially beneficial to this ghost- 3 Stars “As they linger, any remaining humanness fades. Leaves the shell of a soul, in a sense. Time mutates and warps it all until, suddenly, we’ve got entities beyond our control.” Is there a better way to kick off fall than with an old-fashioned ghost story?(Emphasis on the old fashioned-- as this takes place in 1890s London)Our main character, Will joins a supernatural organization known as The Black Cross. Able t o see spirits from a young age, Will is especially beneficial to this ghost-hunting, paranormal-investigating team. This lead to a fun, spooky atmosphere.One of my favorite things was how seamlessly this functions as both a LGBT and historical narrative. LGBT people have existed for all of history, and I love seeing their stories. While the initial blurb I received identified Will as transgender, I’m happy to see an updated version that uses the term ‘genderqueer.’ Maybe not the most specific of terms, but the way Will identifies isn’t always specific or on the traditional gender dichotomy. Appreciated how this was treated with respect and sensitivity, without becoming the primary focus of the character. Though it held an interesting main character and plot, I couldn’t help but feel portions of this dragged on. For instance, nearly the first 100 pages is devoted to establishing Will’s homelife-- and then the setting swiftly changes. I understand portions of this were necessary for establishing their character, but it felt excessive. Here’s also large portions were character discuss procedures and formalities, and while this fits the 1890s dialect, it often bored me. My other main problem, that no doubt worsened my boredom was the amount of rapidly introduced characters. There were quite a few, who were very similar and it all got a little muddles and turned into character-soup for me. Everyone's voice was very similar, though the investigators started to show towards the end, it was a little late. Overall This is a fun, spooky story with a dynamic main character. The side characters and plot didn’t seem to be as well developed. I received an ARC of this from the publisher, thanks to Month9Books for the opportunity!
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  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    4.25 stars. Ghost hunters. A nonbinary protagonist. A Victorian London setting. What more could a fan of queer historical fiction ask for?The Missing follows the story of Will Winchester, a teenager with two secrets: 1) he’s never quite fit into Victorian society’s dichotomous gender definitions, and 2) he can see the spirits of the dead. After stumbling across a team of paranormal investigators, he finds himself recruited into the ranks of the Black Cross—an organization dedicated to studying a 4.25 stars. Ghost hunters. A nonbinary protagonist. A Victorian London setting. What more could a fan of queer historical fiction ask for?The Missing follows the story of Will Winchester, a teenager with two secrets: 1) he’s never quite fit into Victorian society’s dichotomous gender definitions, and 2) he can see the spirits of the dead. After stumbling across a team of paranormal investigators, he finds himself recruited into the ranks of the Black Cross—an organization dedicated to studying and investigating hauntings around London. For the first time in his life, Will has a sense of independence and agency, and the chance to decide for himself who he wants to be. Unfortunately, he’s also being drawn into a dangerous case involving a series of strange deaths.“There is a veil between us and the dead, our realm and theirs. And for whatever reason, we see through it. Reach through the rips in it, while others merely witness ghosts when they manage to slip through on their own.”This was fun, mysterious, well-written, eerie, and wonderfully queer! It reminded me a bit of Lockwood & Co. in the way that the paranormal aspects were incorporated into the worldbuilding. There’s a meticulous system to Will and his team’s investigations, and I really loved the way the whole existence of the Black Cross was built into the historical setting. This isn’t a horror book by any means, but there were definitely a few scenes where Will’s encounters with spirits gave me chills."But would you want to be condemned to the ‘in-between’ forever? Nothing but a shadow figure in a room full of feeling, breathing, living souls, to whom you no longer matter?” Also: if you know me at all, you know that I’m a sucker for some good, conflicting moral gray area!!!! As Will learned more about the Black Cross and his own abilities, I also loved seeing the moral complexity Lenk incorporated into these subjects. There were some really fascinating discussions about the existence of ghosts, and whether or not they have as much a right to exist as any other person. These reflections also seemed especially powerful as a parallel to Will’s own struggles, raising questions about identity and the difficulty of existing in spaces where others think you shouldn’t.I felt both a young lady and a young man. Not at the same time—sometimes, Will; other times, Willow. And despite how it sounds, it all felt very normal to me. My normal. A kind of bi-genderness, something fluid between the two. Simple as that. A note on the queer rep in this book: Will was born anatomically female, but has dressed and presented as male in public for most of his life. However, Will describes his gender as sometimes male, sometimes female. He lives in a time period that lacks the labels we have today, but he identifies in a way that would probably correspond most closely to genderfluid. In this review, I to refer to Will using he/him pronouns, because he mentions in the book that those are how he prefers to be addressed. I can’t speak to the accuracy of the nb rep here, but I hope to see more ownvoices reviews closer to the publication! (I’m also not sure how the author identifies, so I don’t know if the book itself is ownvoices.) This is the third book I’ve read this year with a nonbinary protagonist in a fantasy novel, and it’s so exciting to see a more diverse range of queer identities being featured in my favorite genre!I only had a few minor critiques—and considering what a picky reader I am, they’re really v minor points. There are a lot of characters in this book, and it was a bit much to keep track of—especially towards the beginning. I found myself forgetting names or mixing up different people for the first third of the story, and I had to stop and backtrack a few times to figure out who was who. Still, the characterization and descriptions were all well done IMO, so it didn’t take long for me to get a good sense of who everyone was. I also wished we’d gotten the chance to explore a few characters’ backstories further. This does look like it’ll be part of a series, though, so I’ll definitely be looking forward to seeing how it develops in the future.In summary: the world needs more inclusive historical fiction books like The Missing, and I'm happy to say that I highly recommend this one!tw: attempted suicide, parental abuse, drug use, misgenderingMany thanks to Month9Books for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.This review was also posted on my blog.
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  • Darque Dreamer
    January 1, 1970
    The Missing is a thrilling, supernatural joyride! It is fast paced, full of surprising twists, and offers bits of creepiness, humor, and intrigue. For lovers of Supernatural, Stalking Jack the Ripper, and Ghost Adventures, this one is sure to impress!I am absolutely in love with this book and I am really hoping for it to become a series. Sometimes I really hate comparing books to other books or television shows, but in this instance, I feel like The Missing offers a lot of great qualities that f The Missing is a thrilling, supernatural joyride! It is fast paced, full of surprising twists, and offers bits of creepiness, humor, and intrigue. For lovers of Supernatural, Stalking Jack the Ripper, and Ghost Adventures, this one is sure to impress!I am absolutely in love with this book and I am really hoping for it to become a series. Sometimes I really hate comparing books to other books or television shows, but in this instance, I feel like The Missing offers a lot of great qualities that fans of the aforementioned book and shows will be impressed by! This one offers plenty of supernatural content, intrigue, humor, mild creepiness, and murder! I think the plot of this book is amazing! It has a gender queer (or gender fluid) character in a time when it was not well understood, which makes Will stand out and rise above the times. It has a supernatural association, similar to the Men of Letters from Supernatural, that hunts ghosts with fun gadgets, and clairvoyants. And, it has a murder mystery with some surprising twists! All of these points are connected and flow quite well together in the story.The book itself is very well written. It has elegance, time period details, great world development, and nice character development and backstory. It truly makes you feel like you are in 1890's London, ghost hunting and investigating murders. The plot is fast paced and captivating, and the characters really draw you in.Will is such a great character. He (he is the pronoun of choice usually, or just Will) has a harsh upbringing from his father and is pretty clueless when it comes to his deceased mother. He is strong, brave, curious, caring, and intelligent. He likes to rise above what is expected of him and his gender roles in society, and realizes that he can use his supernatural gift for good. Clement is a brave, dashing character. He also has a harsh past and seems a little jaded by it. But, he has many layers that are peeled back throughout the book, making him quite interesting. He is a little bit mysterious, commanding, and caring.Kingsley is the most intriguing, in my opinion. He is a lord from a wealthy family, but is surrounded by gossip and rumors. He has so much depth and carries many secrets throughout the story. He is definitely involved in a major twist in the book, and seems to be the most fascinating, mysterious character of the bunch!Jerico Lenk has written an astounding novel here! This one has depth and imagination! I cannot wait to read more from this author because The Missing had me turning pages like crazy! Make sure to grab a copy if you enjoy well written, fast paced stories about ghosts, murder, intrigue, gender queer characters, and characters with depth!Thank you to Chapter by Chapter for providing me with this free e-ARC in exchange for my honest review and for the opportunity to participate in the blog tour.
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  • Amy Shannon
    January 1, 1970
    A story with many levelsThis story has different levels and an interesting back story for the character of Will. First, Will used to be Willow, so that is one plus to the character, and something that drives the character. He has many secrets and the way this was written, brings something unique to the story. Will can also hear the dead, and it adds that paranormal secretive twist to the story, where anything can happen, and it does. Quality writing brings this story together.
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  • Erika Messer
    January 1, 1970
    I love the paranormal and this definitely fit that bill. Willow or Will as he was raised, is still struggling with his gender issues which is a very strong theme throughout the book. When he is asked and joins a league called the Black Cross, the motherly figure in his life Zelda shows him some information on his mother's death so many years ago and tells him that he may not be welcomed back if he joins. The sad part is that Will already does not seem to share a good relationship with his father I love the paranormal and this definitely fit that bill. Willow or Will as he was raised, is still struggling with his gender issues which is a very strong theme throughout the book. When he is asked and joins a league called the Black Cross, the motherly figure in his life Zelda shows him some information on his mother's death so many years ago and tells him that he may not be welcomed back if he joins. The sad part is that Will already does not seem to share a good relationship with his father - and this job - although something Will is interested in - seems to be something that will tear them apart even further. But it is what Will wants and what he does well, so in spite of what could happen he takes the job and leaves home. He arrives at his new home and immediately his gender comes into play yet again because they believe him to be male and they want him to sign contracts and he struggles with his inner self as to what he needs to do. This is one thing I love about the book - between contracts and women and other things, Will struggles to be WILL and not WILLOW. But can he maintain the charade if it really IS a charade? Is he Will only because that is what his father wanted or is it because it's what he wants? As only 2 people in the world - Zelda and his father - know that Will is really Willow, we only know that Will has said his father didn't know how to raise a girl when his mother died, and it wasn't quite clear whether he forced this onto Will or he did it because he wanted his father's approval.What is so special about Will? Well the first thing we see is that he can clearly see ghosts ... and most recently, is able to be possessed. And it's not something that seems to scare him off, thus the reason for the job at Black Cross. So throughout the novel we see Will doing his job and his colleagues are quite a crew between Clement, Mr O'Brien and of course the one who becomes such a good friend, Cain Kingsley. I really loved the names in this book, I thought there was a great mixture of mythological names, fictional character names as well as religious names - of course Cain being possibly the most intriguing religious name - does that mean he will turn on his friend Will as Cain did to his brother Abel? Good question - as events start to escalate with the Black Cross, Will becomes more entangled in the web of paranormal, and we also see that he begins to FEEL more which could very well be from his gifts or from him being scared. The underlying fear that I got hints about were about his father and who he really was. It might just be me because I am an English lit major, but it seems that there are a lot of "father figures" in this novel. Whether they be religious fathers or whatever, it all goes back to the gender struggle and the relationship between Will and his father. I won't give away any more because you HAVE to read this book - but it's so good and definitely keeps you entertained, especially if you love the paranormal. But some questions I asked myself before finishing were: will we find out the REAL truth about Will and his father?; will Will choose to remain a male or will he decide that his real destiny is to be Willow?; and of course will he continue working with the Black Cross and did they have anything to do with his mother's death and that is why when he left he was told he may not be welcomed back. I give this book FIVE STARS!!!!***I received a complimentary ebook to review. However all opinions are my own and I was not forced to leave this review***
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  • J Aislynn d'Merricksson
    January 1, 1970
    ***This book was reviewed via Chapter by Chapter Book ToursWill Winchester has a gift, or curse depending on how you look at it. He can see the dead, whom he calls the Missing. A chance encounter with a group of ghost hunters opens his eyes to a whole new way of working. The Black Cross hunt down spirits and lay them to rest. Offered a place working with the Black Cross may lead to answer’s about his mother's disappearance, but Will has secrets of his own. How will his new 'family’ react if they ***This book was reviewed via Chapter by Chapter Book ToursWill Winchester has a gift, or curse depending on how you look at it. He can see the dead, whom he calls the Missing. A chance encounter with a group of ghost hunters opens his eyes to a whole new way of working. The Black Cross hunt down spirits and lay them to rest. Offered a place working with the Black Cross may lead to answer’s about his mother's disappearance, but Will has secrets of his own. How will his new 'family’ react if they learn the truth? And how will his father react to his new job as Scouting Inspector for a supposed Spiritualist charlatan group?Willow 'Will’ Winchester has had the misfortune to be born during an age when 'transgender’ is an unknown concept, and those who would be called so today lack support and understanding. The reason behind Will’s gender fluidity was rather unexpected, and I'm thankful that he adjusted well, finding it to feel natural. I love seeing these concepts added to stories and handled so it's just another facet of being. I never felt like it as a political agenda as I have with some books that incorporate transgender/gender fluidity/homosexuality. Let it be a personality trait, and that's it. The Black Cross Spectral Department really reminded me of the Men of Letters in the show Supernatural, especially in how they lay the Missing to rest. And Will’s last name is Winchester. Perhaps an ancestor of Sam and Dean :P In the first full investigation Will does with the Black Cross, they rule out any other mundane contamination. Aside from using more old-fashioned tech such as dowsing rods, the investigation could have come straight from one of our modern day ghost investigation reality shows. They handled things in a very scientific manner. Parts of the beginning felt a little stuttered, with odd phrasing. It really wasn't enough jar me from the story. I love all things Victorian, and fell into this story straightaway. Indeed, this was one of those stories I got so drawn into, I was cranky when shaken away from it by people wanting something. I found the characters well-drawn, and easy to conjure mentally. Added from Will, who is a most intriguing character, my favourite was O’Brien, the tech guy. He just had this infectious excitement in the middle of investigating. And for some reason… Quinn kept mentally manifesting as Greg Lestrade from BBC'S Sherlock 😂. All I can say is 'more, please!’📚📚📚📚📚 Recommended if you enjoy Stroud’s Lockwood & Co novels, or shows like Supernatural.
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  • Hauntedbybooks
    January 1, 1970
    This book was a dark, a little eerie but tons of fun read. The main character in this story, Will, is nonbinary. I like the fact that this character is nonbinary because everyone needs to see themselves as a character in a book and everyone deserves that. The writing is excellent and the characters are interesting. I really liked the paranormal aspects of the book. I thought they were unique and interesting!
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