Missing Clayton


Five-year-old Clayton Kingsley is supposed to be experiencing his first day at school.  Things change when a stranger offers him a piece of chocolate, promising more in his vehicle parked a short distance away. Clayton's mother, Jenny Kingsley is about to learn that their new home isn't as safe as she thought when she calls Clayton in for lunch and he is nowhere to be found. Kindly neighbors join the search for the missing child, hoping to find him before it is too late.


Irwin is careful to set the stage of this story but it may not be the suspense thriller readers are expecting.  Some may find her construction of Jenny's fears redundant at times, but the reader is consistently reminded of the turmoil and fear a young mother, living on her own, would experience day after day while her son is missing. Clayton is described as a young boy of five feels more like a ten-year-old by the end of the story. Maybe this is the author's intent but it may put some readers off as they struggle to grasp the realism of the young character. Irwin wraps up her tale neatly; a couple of details feel contrived, while others may offend the gentle reader.  


A drama spotlighting every parent's fear, "Missing Clayton" is an absorbing page-turner that will appeal to lovers of women's fiction everywhere.


Shaunna Gonzales