The Missing begins with a nightmarish scenario. Greta goes out on a lake in a little boat with Alex and four-year-old Smilla. She stays in the boat while they get out to explore a small island. When Greta comes to from an apparent daydream, Alex and Smilla are simply gone. The reader can feel Greta's panic as she tries to find them, except that Greta doesn't respond as most of us do. Rather, her efforts to find them are leaden in the way that one's movements might be in a dream. She forgets what's she doing. She seems dull or slow or drugged. Maddeningly, she doesn't take the logical first step, or at least second step, which is to call the police and have them initiate a search. We soon come to distrust Greta's view of reality: Do Alex and Smilla in fact exist? If so, did Greta kill them and forget doing it? It's impressive that for a long time we really have no idea how much of what's happening is real. Still, the first part of the story is more annoying than not. The book becomes less annoying eventually, when answers to the story's mysteries begin to seep out through the gauze of the storytelling. Ultimately I'd say the book is satisfying, though there is one huge coincidence at the end that I believe remains unaccounted for. I'm not sorry to have read this one, but I come down very much in the middle on it.