Claire Kendal's debut novel The Book of You was quite rightly such a huge hit that I was massively looking forward to her next novel from the moment I put it down. But as soon as the kind people at Harper Collins and NetGalley put it up for advanced review my excitement became a little tinged with trepidation - could The Second Sister ever live up to my expectation? Well, it didn't disappoint that's for sure!

From the almost poetical first paragraph to the thrilling ending I was hooked on every word; willing Ella to discover the truth behind her sister Miranda's disappearance. In search for the truth Ella realises she must face the man suspected of her sister's disappearance; the convicted killer Jason Thorne. Now I know that murderers aren't necessarily the nicest of people, but Jason Thorne bore more than a passing resemblance to Hannibal Lecter in his interaction with Ella in my mind. Managing to be almost affectionately protective of her, whilst also being an obvious psychopath. He really did manage to get under my skin, and I found him itchingly creepy.

Like Ella I also found myself suspecting pretty much everyone too. I liked how the vulnerability she felt manifested itself in distrust, and also provided the drive for her to help other families who found themselves in the unenviable situation of missing loved ones, as well as making her literally a kick-ass character. The way she still communicated and connected with Miranda felt achingly realistic and provided the spark for everything that happened.

The supporting characters each fulfilled their roles just as well - from the sweetheart nephew who just wanted to know the truth about his mum, to the childhood friend who was as threatening and toxic as Ella had been warned. What was clear was just how destructive the mystery of a disappearance had been on each of their lives, and how hard it must be to deal with that not-knowing every day.

There are enough twists and turns to keep you guessing, and whilst I did find it hard to get my head round one particular plotline, nothing ever seemed so implausible to bother me. Certainly there are more than a few occasions where that page just won't be turning quick enough for you.

I found The Second Sister totally, thoroughly enjoyable - a smashing read.