Judith D Collins
Chloe Cates is Missing
By: Mandy McHugh
Publication Date: 02/15/2022
My Rating: 4 Stars
Audiobook narrated by an all-star cast: Hillary Huber, Jesse Vilinsky, Eileen Steven, Alex Boyles
The disappearance of a young internet celebrity ignites a firestorm of speculation on social media, and to find her a detective will have to extinguish the blaze.
Chloe Cates is missing. The 13-year-old star of the hit web series, “CC and Me,” has disappeared, and nobody knows where she’s gone ― least of all ruthless momager Jennifer Scarborough, who has spent much of her daughter’s young life crafting a child celebrity persona that is finally beginning to pay off. And in Chloe’s absence, the faux-fairytale world that supported that persona begins to fracture, revealing secrets capable of reducing the highly-dysfunctional Scarborough family to rubble.
Anxious to find her daughter and preserve the life she’s worked so hard to build, Jennifer turns to social media for help, but the hearsay, false claims, and salacious suspicions only multiply. As the search becomes as sensational as Chloe’s series, Missing Persons detective Emilina Stone steps in, only to realize she has a connection to this case herself. Will she be able to stay objective and cut through the rumors to find the truth before it’s too late?
Told from multiple points of view including Jennifer, Emilina, and pages from Chloe’s lost diary, Chloe Cates Is Missing is a suspenseful novel of a child pushed to the brink, and of the troubled family that desperately needs her back.
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I hope my niece reads this book!
Gripping debut [...] Chapters told from multiple perspectives skillfully tease out the characters’ respective secrets to reveal the rage lurking beneath their smiling faces. McHugh is off to a strong start." ― Publishers Weekly
"A thriller for our social-media obsessed times"
"A tale guaranteed to keep genre fans up till dawn."
"This is a promising debut on a timely topic that might seem unbelievable save the recent headlines about the ruinous life of Britney Spears and the never-ending list of child stars and their misfortunes."
"Mandy McHugh delightfully claws away the glitter to reveal the darkness and dysfunction roiling beneath the surface of a seemingly perfect family. Everyone has a secret they’re desperate to hide, everyone is lying, and it’s great fun (can I call murder fun?) to fit the shifting pieces together. A spectacular debut from a promising writer."
― Laura McHugh, award-winning author of What's Done in Darkness
"It’s a mommy blog gone terribly wrong in this captivating debut from Mandy McHugh. CHLOE CATES IS MISSING has everything I want in a domestic thriller: propulsive storytelling, razor-sharp prose, disturbing behavior, explosive secrets, and a uniquely dysfunctional family. Settle in for this stunner; once you start reading, you won’t be able to stop."
― Megan Collins, author of The Family Plot
"McHugh weaves these stories together seamlessly in an of-the-moment thriller that will leave you guessing what the truth is until the final page. A terrific debut!"
― Catherine McKenzie, USA Today bestselling author of I’ll Never Tell and Six Weeks to Live
"From the timely social media relevance, to the constant tension, to the tightly weaved plot, this one doesn’t let go until delivering an ending that will leave your mouth hanging open. With chilling prose and an atmospheric setting, I’m already looking forward to her next."
― Jaime Lynn Hendricks, author of Finding Tessa
"In the way that we constantly check our retweets or shamelessly devour the latest social media scandal, I compulsively devoured Chloe Cates Is Missing. With characters you love to hate, this novel is Drama with a capital D―and is utterly terrifying in its snapshot of our selfie society’s obsession with popularity and perception."
― Tara Laskowski, award-winning author of One Night Gone and The Mother Next Door
"Fast-paced and brimming with secrets to unspool, Mandy McHugh's razor sharp debut explores the dark side of internet fame and is as addictive as social media itself. A refreshingly original read that will have you rethinking what's behind those carefully curated online personas."
― Lindsay Cameron, author of Just One Look
"Full of disturbing secrets, a supremely dysfunctional family and an unapologetically unlikeable protagonist, McHugh raises important questions around what parents should be allowed to post about their children on social media. Scratch the shiny surface of this perfect family and you’ll see the dark secrets lurking beneath the glitter. A smart and textured thriller."
― Christina McDonald, USA Today Bestselling Author
CHLOE CATES IS MISSING IS A KILLER DEBUT!
This mom is a total psycho! Social media-obsessed! Child/family services need to take her away, please. What a highly entertaining audiobook and a wild debut by Mandy McHugh. She definitely showcases a highly dysfunctional family from mom, dad, daughter, and brother and supporting characters. Very realistic, every mom, dad, teen, and pre-teen in this world needs to read this book. A cautionary tale about the addictive social media craze world.
I hope my niece (with her five-year-old celebrity daughter) reads this one and my other niece. This book is right on and the author does not miss a beat. My niece has 5.6M followers on TikTok and I am afraid her life, daughter, and family may be headed down this slippery slope where their life is controlled by their phone, videos, hits, likes, sponsors, etc.
To be honest, I dislike all social media and think it ruins lives and is addictive. I feel sorry for celebrities. This novel even though fictional is a wake-up call. If I did not have to post books on IG and Twitter, I would not be on social media. Never been on FB and do not care for any of them. In fact, the only one I really like is Pinterest to post color boards where most of my followers are, but seldom ever visit it. I really could care less about likes and followers, and definitely could do without it. I still do not get the dancing and selfies. A pet peeve of mine. Who really cares? I do not. I guess people want the money, but no thanks.
Dangerous for our younger generation as we see all too well in this book which brilliantly unravels a seemingly perfect family's ugly secrets.
Back to the book. Read it! Out now. I highly recommend the audiobook narrated by Hillary Huber (superb), Jesse Vilinsky, Eileen Stevens, and Alex Boyles by Blackstone Publishing. Not a lot of likable characters (mom horrible, dad spineless, daughter, brat, and son ok).
I loved Detective Emilina Stone and she is really the only one with a heart. Told from multiple POV with journal entries from CC (Abby). I liked the past story and how it came together with the present.
Now some parts are more like a YA book (which I will admit, I had to skip over these parts with the teen, Abby/Chloe because it had too much drama and this girl's voice was grinding on my nerves). I think the book is more suited for a younger crowd and YA and moms. Thank goodness I had two sons and raised three stepsons. I could not handle a drama-filled life of a girl!
Also, be sure and read The Quiet People by one of my favorite authors, Paul Cleave. If you read both, you will see the secrets/lies of a celebrity blogger and successful crime writer and the lengths they go for money and to maintain their status. Full of secrets, lies, and control.
An author to watch. She will definitely be on my radar and cannot wait to see what comes next from this talented new author!
Oh, my - I have listened to so many audiobook thrillers recently, they are all running together. I am dizzy. Been up the last two nights reading/listening all night. After the thriller I am currently reading, my next book will be a nice southern historical fiction. I need something more relaxing so I am not up all night and need to take a break from these highly dysfunctional crazy wild intense books.😍
How about you guys? Do you ever take breaks in between thrillers?
#JDCMustReadBooks | @JudithDCollins
My Rating: 4 Stars
Pub Date: Feb 15, 2022
About the Author
Mandy McHugh is a first-time novelist from Troy, NY. She received her MA in English Lit from the College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY and her BA in English Education from Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY. Her works have appeared in various literary magazines, anthologies, and podcasts.
CHLOE CATES IS MISSING is her debut novel.
When she isn't writing or putting a dent in her never-ending TBR, Mandy enjoys singing, running, baking, or planning adventures for her family.
Mandy lives in Upstate New York with her husband, two kids, and goofy dog.