After last year’s explosive debut, The French Girl, Lexie Elliott returns with another strong psychological thriller that explores the ideas of shifting memories and truths in The Missing Years.

Meet Ailsa Calder, a producer of investigative journalism who’s inherited her family home, The Manse, set in the hills of the Scottish Highlands, a nicely gothic setting for the story she unfolds. When her mother dies, Ailsa finds her inheritence is her mother’s half of the home. With her father missing for decades, she must have him declared legally dead in Scotland to inherit his half of the creeky old place.

She brings her half sister, actress Carrie, with her as she sets up camp in the house and tries to figure out if she even wants the old home. Foreboding and far too large, she feels she will sell it at as soon as possible. But this is a chance for her and Carrie to spend time together, even if she feels, ridiculously so, that the house doens’t want her there.

Ailsa, traveling the world on assignment, has had a long-term relationship with an older reporter, and she’s unclear about their future together. Then strange things start to happen at The Manse, from threatening notes to dead animals turning up on her doorstep, and she’s uncertain she has a future at all.

The locals Ailsa meets and becomes involved with are distinctly drawn, and function to serve not only as steadying influences but also devil’s advocates of a kind, as Ailsa starts to have difficulty deciding what is real and what is her imagination. Does the house want her to leave, or to uncover its secrets? Who can she trust amongst her new cadre of friends?

With overtones of Gaslight, the tension rises as the mystery into her father’s past rises to the surface in a chilling climax.

This one will have readers flipping pages long after the lights should be out. Elliott owes Auntie M a night’s sleep! Highly recommended.