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Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica: FAQs + Books Like It

I've been on a bit of a Mary Kubica reading spree lately. First, it was her domestic thriller, Just the Nicest Couple, followed by The Other Mrs., and then after that, Local Woman Missing. What can I say, the woman knows how to write a good thriller book. (Kindle | Kobo | Paperback)


Now, if you're here reading this article, you're likely either looking for answers to questions you have about the book or you're hoping to find more books like Local Woman Missing to read next. If that's true, then keep scrolling because you'll find all of that below. (Warning: This article contains spoilers)

Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica

What is the Book Local Woman Missing About?

Mary Kubica's psychological thriller, Local Woman Missing, is about the disappearance of three local women, including one six-year-old girl, and how their killer is found after the young girl re-appears after eleven years. Here is the official description:


"People don’t just disappear without a trace... Shelby Tebow is the first to go missing. Not long after, Meredith Dickey and her six-year-old daughter, Delilah, vanish just blocks away from where Shelby was last seen, striking fear into their once-peaceful community. Are these incidents connected? After an elusive search that yields more questions than answers, the case eventually goes cold. Now, 11 years later, Delilah shockingly returns. Everyone wants to know what happened to her, but no one is prepared for what they’ll find..."


How Long Does It Take to Read Local Woman Missing?

It will take the average reader approximately 6 hours to read Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica, according to How Long to Read.


Is Local Woman Missing Based on a True Story?

There is no official statement that I could find at the time this article was written, confirming whether or not Local Woman Missing is based on a true story. My best guess is that the answer is no, it is not based on one single true story, but rather inspired by many true crimes. I believe this to be the case because of what Mary Kubica said in an interview with Leslie Lindsay: "I’ve become a true crime junkie, especially during the pandemic. What fascinates me is how so often, people are killed by the ones they’re closest to or by someone they should be able to trust – but can’t. This concept carries much weight in the domestic suspense genre. We can only ever know as much about another person as they’re willing to share."


Who Is the Killer in Local Woman Missing?

The killer in Local Woman Missing is Bea, who is the partner of one of our narrators, Kate. She is responsible for the deaths of both Shelby Tebow and Meredith Dickey, as well as the abduction of Delilah Dickey.


What Happened to Shelby in Local Woman Missing?

In Local Woman Missing, Shelby Tebow is cheating on her cheating husband (yes, you read that right), with "Sam" (who I expect is Marty Hanaka). Late one night, Shelby claims she is going for a run, though that's just a cover story for her to go meet up with "Sam." On her way to their meetup spot, she bends down to tie her shoe. While tying her shoe, she sees a car coming at her. She is struck by it and killed. The person driving said car is Bea and in the car with her is Meredith. Bea gets out to find Shelby dead and instructs Meredith to help her hide the body as they will both go to jail for killing someone while driving under the influence.


How Does Local Woman Missing End?

After Piper Hanaka shows Leo Dickey a picture of Delilah as a child with a cleft chin, she informs him cleft chins aren't something you grow out of, and yet "Delilah" doesn't have one anymore. When Leo tells his father, Josh, they approach Detective Carmen Rowling, who admits she knew the girl they took home wasn't actually Delilah. In fact, that girl turns out to be another missing girl, Carly Byrd. She was abducted and held captive by Eddie and Martha Cutter in hopes her case would attract the same level of media attention as Delilah's (which it didn't).


As for Meredith, after hiding Shelby's body, she is wracked with guilt when Bea approaches her. She tells Bea she is going to turn herself in. Bea gets angry and hits her with a hammer, knocking her unconscious. Unfortunately, Delilah, who was home sick that day, saw Bea "kill" her mother. As a result, Bea holds Delilah captive in the attic of her soundproof garage/music studio. She then puts an unconscious Meredith in her own car, drives her to the shady motel, holds her at knifepoint, tells her to rent a room, forces her to write a suicide note, and then slashes her wrists to make it look like suicide.


Finally, after everyone finds out "Delilah" is actually Carly, Carly takes off. The police come to help search the neighborhood, which brings them to Kate and Bea's house. When they ask to enter the garage, Bea protests and then flees with the only key. The police break in and when they get to the attic, they find the real Delilah Dickey, who is now 17 years old. She is reunited with her father and brother. Meanwhile, Carly is located and reunited with her family. Bea, on the other hand, is apprehended and pleads guilty to "first-degree murder, vehicular homicide, concealment of a homicide, and aggravated kidnapping."


Is Local Woman Missing Going to Be a Movie?

Yes - In November 2020, Variety confirmed that the rights to turn Local Woman Missing into a television series, not a movie, were bought by Black Bear Television.


5 Books Like Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica

Local Woman Missing was one of those rare books that once I picked it up, there wasn't a chance I was putting it down. I was hooked right from the start. Now, I know those types of books don't come around that often and that it can be hard to find similar ones, but you're in luck because below you will find five books like Local Woman Missing to check out next:


The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins

1. The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins

Unlike the other four books on this list, The Wife Upstairs does not involve the abduction or murder of children/young girls. However, just because it doesn't have this in common with Local Woman Missing doesn't mean it's not similar. In fact, there's one major similarity and I can't even tell you it because it will ruin the plot twist at the end. So, I'm sorry but you'll just have to trust me. Here is what it's about: "Meet Jane. Jane is a broke dog walker in a gated community full of McMansions, shiny SUVs, and bored housewives. Her luck changes though she catches the eye of the recently widowed, Eddie Rochester. His wife, Bea, drowned in a boating accident with her best friend, their bodies lost to the deep. Unfortunately, as Jane and Eddie's relationship intensifies, Jane is increasingly haunted by the legend of Bea. How can she, plain Jane, ever measure up? And can she win Eddie’s heart before her past - or his - catches up?"


A Flicker in the Dark by Stacy Willingham

2. A Flicker in the Dark by Stacy Willingham

When it comes to psychological thrillers about abductions and disappearances, I can't say Local Woman Missing is personally the most memorable. Do you know which one is though? A Flicker in the Dark by Stacy Willingham. I read this book a year ago and I still think about it to this day. Here's what it's about: "When Chloe Davis was 12, six teenage girls went missing in her small town. By the end of the summer, Chloe’s father had been arrested for the presumed murders. 20 years later, Chloe is a psychologist who is getting ready for her wedding. She finally has a fragile grasp on the happiness she’s worked so hard to get. Sometimes, though, she feels as out of control of her own life as the troubled teens who are her patients. And then a local teenage girl goes missing, and then another, and that terrifying summer comes crashing back. Is she paranoid, and seeing parallels that aren't really there, or for the second time in her life, is she about to unmask a killer?"


The Quarry Girls by Jess Lourey

3. The Quarry Girls by Jess Lourey

Like Local Woman Missing, Jess Loure's psychological thriller, The Quarry Girls, is about the disappearances of young women from a small town and how the people in that town aren't who you think they are. Here is the full description: "For the teens of one close-knit community in Minnesota, summer means swimming at the quarry, the county fair, and venturing into the tunnels beneath the city. It’s not all fun and games for Heather and Brenda though. They saw in the dark. Something they've decided to never tell a soul about. But their vow is tested when their friend disappears - the second girl to vanish in a week. And yet the authorities are reluctant to investigate. Heather is terrified that the missing girls are connected to what she and Brenda stumbled upon that night. Desperately searching for answers on her own, she learns that no one in her community is who they seem to be. Not the police, not the boys she met at the quarry, not even her parents. But she can’t stop digging because she knows those girls are in danger. She also knows she’s next."


Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

4. Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

After how intense the first chapter of Local Woman Missing was, I expected the whole book to be the same. It wasn't though. If anything, it actually got tamer and more predictable after that. While Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter is like Local Woman Missing in that it's about missing women, it's far more intense, dark, and graphic from start to finish. Here's the description: "Twenty years ago Claire Scott's eldest sister, Julia, went missing. No one knew where she went - no note, no body. It was a mystery that was never solved and it tore her family apart. Now another girl has disappeared, with chilling echoes of the past. And it seems that she might not be the only one. Claire is convinced Julia's disappearance is linked. But when she begins to learn the truth about her sister, she is confronted with a shocking discovery, and nothing will ever be the same..."


We Are All the Same in the Dark by Julia Heaberlin

5. We Are All the Same in the Dark by Julia Heaberlin

Last but not least on this list of books like Local Woman Missing is We Are All the Same in the Dark by Julia Heaberlin. While I could explain the similarities between the two for you, I think it's better if you just read the description and see for yourself: "It's been a decade since Trumanell Branson disappeared. Her pretty face still hangs on the posters on walls all over the town. Meanwhile, her brother, Wyatt, lives as a pariah, cleared of wrongdoing by the police but tried and sentenced in the court of public opinion. When Wyatt finds a lost girl dumped in a field of dandelions, he believes she's a sign. The town's youngest cop, Odette Tucker, believes she is a catalyst that will ignite a seething town still waiting for its own missing girl to come home. But Odette can't look away. She shares a wound that won't close with the mute, one-eyed mystery girl. And she is haunted by her own history with the missing Tru. Desperate to solve both cases, Odette fights to save the lost girl in the present and to dig up the shocking truth about a fateful night in the past."

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