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17 must-read books for fans of Baptiste

If you’re anything like us, you won’t have been able to get enough of Harry and Jack Williams’ fantastic crime drama The Missing and its spin-off series Baptiste.

Julien Baptiste first appeared in the first gripping series of The Missing, which followed the desperate search for a young boy by his father. After dealing so brilliantly – and sensitively – with the dark events and harrowing sense of loss experienced when someone goes missing, the Williams brothers approached series 2 from a different angle, exploring how a family and community cope with a missing person’s return. Then, in spin-off Baptiste, we followed the same detective as he first tracked down a missing sex worker in Amsterdam, and then searched for a woman’s two missing sons in Hungary.

In each case, it’s not just the plot that’s made the series so compelling. The focus is not just on the investigation and Baptiste’s unrelenting search for the truth: it’s also on the emotional, psychological impact of experiencing traumatic events – how ordinary people can be pushed to do extraordinary things when put under pressure – and this is what has set this show apart from the rest. Watching the events unfold is like embarking on a journey with the characters – one full of twists, turns, red herrings and shocking revelations that will blow all your assumptions out of the water.

We’ve picked out seventeen books for fans of Baptiste and The Missing. Well-crafted and gripping from start to finish, these compelling stories revolve around missing persons cases and mysterious deaths. How many have you read?

17 must-read books for fans of Baptiste:

The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell

The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell

Midsummer 2017: teenage mum Tallulah heads out on a date, leaving her baby son at home with her mother, Kim. At 11 p.m. she sends her mum a text message. At 4.30 a.m. Kim awakens to discover that Tallulah has not come home.

Friends tell her that Tallulah was last seen heading to a pool party at a house in the woods nearby called Dark Place. Tallulah never returns.

2018: walking in the woods behind the boarding school where her boyfriend has just started as a head teacher, Sophie sees a sign nailed to a fence. A sign that says: DIG HERE…

Girl Unknown by Karen Perry

Girl Unknown by Karen Perry

When first-year student Zoë Barry walks into Professor David Connolly’s office and tells him he might be her father, he’s left reeling. But it’s the lives of his family – particularly his wife Caroline – which are turned upside down by the arrival of this stranger.

Though no one knows quite who Zoë is, she is soon entangled in their lives. Yet her stories don’t ring true and Caroline is determined to learn if the girl is the unlucky innocent she claims to be or someone with a far darker agenda.

Close to Home by Cara Hunter

Close to Home by Cara Hunter

Last night, eight-year-old Daisy Mason disappeared from a family party. No one in the quiet suburban street saw anything – or at least that’s what they’re saying.

DI Adam Fawley is trying to keep an open mind. But he knows the nine times out of ten, it’s someone the victim knew.

That means someone is lying. And that Daisy’s time is running out.

Alice Teale is Missing by H A Linskey

Alice Teale is Missing by H A Linskey

Alice Teale walked out of school at the end of a bright spring day. She’s not been seen since. Alice was popular and well-liked, and her boyfriend, friends and family are desperate to find her. But soon it’s clear that everyone in her life has something to hide.

Then the police receive a disturbing package – pages from Alice’s precious diary.

Who could have sent them? And what have they done with Alice?

Baby Doll by Hollie Overton

Baby Doll by Hollie Overton

Lily was abducted from outside her high-school gates. For eight long years she’s been locked away from the outside world. During that time she’s changed from a girl into a woman. She’s had a baby. And now she has seized her chance and escaped.

Running for her life, with her daughter in her arms, she returns to her family and the life she used to know – to her much-loved twin sister Abby, her mum, her high-school boyfriend – and her freedom. But is it possible to go back? Lily’s perfect life as a teenager doesn’t exist any more. Since she’s been gone, her family’s lives have changed too, in ways she never could have imagined. Her return, and the revelation of who took her, will send shockwaves through the whole community.

Vanished by Tim Weaver

Vanished by Tim Weaver

For millions of Londoners, the morning of 17 December is just like any other – but not for Sam Wren. An hour after leaving home, he gets onto a tube train and never gets off again. No eyewitnesses. No trace of him on security cameras. Six months later, he’s still missing.

Out of options and desperate for answers, Sam’s wife Julia hires David Raker to track him down. Raker has made a career out of finding the lost. He knows how they think. And, in missing person cases, the only certainty is that everyone has something to hide – but in this case the secrets go deeper than anyone imagined.

Safe by S K Barnett

Safe by S K Barnett

Your child is missing. She was only six years old when she disappeared. Posters went up, the police investigated. But no one could find her.

Now, twelve years later, she’s home – and knocking at your door. You’re so happy to see her. But soon you start to wonder why she can’t answer your questions. Where has she been? How did she find her way home? And is she really who she says she is?

Case Histories by Kate Atkinson

Case Histories by Kate Atkinson

Cambridge is sweltering during an unusually hot summer. To Jackson Brodie, former police inspector turned private investigator, the world consists of one accounting sheet – Lost on the left, Found on the right – and the two never seem to balance.

Surrounded by death, intrigue and misfortune, his own life haunted by a family tragedy, Jackson attempts to unravel three disparate case histories and begins to realise that in spite of apparent diversity, everything is connected…

Sister by Rosamund Lupton

Sister by Rosamund Lupton

When Beatrice gets a frantic call in the middle of Sunday lunch to say that her younger sister, Tess, is missing, she boards the first flight home to London. But as she learns about the circumstances surrounding her Tess’s disappearance, she is stunned to discover how little she actually knows of her sister’s life – and unprepared for the terrifying truths she must now face.

The police, Beatrice’s fiancé and even her mother accept they have lost Tess, but Beatrice refuses to give up on her. So she embarks on a dangerous journey to discover the truth, no matter the cost.

Missing Rose by Linda Newbery

Missing Rose by Linda Newbery

At quarter past two on a hot summer afternoon, Anna’s beautiful, headstrong older sister Rose disappears. And Anna was the last person to see her. Their parents, Rose’s friends, the police – no-one can find where Rose has gone or who might have taken her.

Twenty years later, Rose is still missing. Anna is the only one who still believes she might be alive, and unable to take control of her own life while her sister’s disappearance remains unsolved, she begins to hunt for the truth herself. But the search for Rose will uncover secrets she is not prepared for…

Dear Amy by Helen Callaghan

Dear Amy by Helen Callaghan

Margot Lewis is the agony aunt for The Cambridge Examiner. Her advice column, ‘Dear Amy’, gets all kinds of letters – but none like the one she’s just received. It claims to be from Bethan Avery, a girl who went missing years ago.

At first Margot thinks it must be a hoax – but as more letters arrive, they contain information that was never made public and Margot realises that this is a very real cry for help. How is this happening? Answering this question will cost Margot everything.

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

Your neighbour told you that she didn’t want your six-month-old daughter at the dinner party. Nothing personal, she just couldn’t stand her crying. Your husband said it would be fine. After all, you only live next door. You’ll have the baby monitor and you’ll take it in turns to go back every half hour.

Your daughter was sleeping when you checked on her last. But now, as you race up the stairs in your deathly quiet house, your worst fears are realized. She’s gone. You’ve never had to call the police before. But now they’re in your home, and who knows what they’ll find there.

I Know Who Did It by Steve Mosby

I Know Who Did It by Steve Mosby

Charlie Matheson died two years ago in a car accident. So how is a woman bearing a startling resemblance to her claiming to be back from the dead? Detective Mark Nelson is called in to investigate.

Every year Detective David Groves receives a birthday card for his son – even though he buried him years ago. This year, though, the card bears a different message: I know who did it.

Uncovering the truth in these cases will lead them on a dark journey where they must face their own wrongs as well as those done to those they love. It will take them to a place where justice is a game, and the punishments are severe.

Home by Harlan Coben

Home by Harlan Coben

When childhood friends Rhys and Patrick vanish without a trace, the police have no leads. Ten years later, Patrick is found on the streets of London and safely returned to his family. But instead of shedding light on the other boy’s whereabouts, Patrick’s recovery raises even more questions.

As Myron Bolitar and his best friend Win start to investigate the case, they find the search for the truth has only just begun.

When They Find Her by Lia Middleton

When They Find Her by Lia Middleton

Naomi always wanted to be a mother – but three years ago, her husband left, taking their child with him.

Now, her daughter has come to stay, and Naomi knows it’s her one chance to re-build her family. But the night ends in a terrible accident, and Naomi has no memory of what happened. Panicking, desperate, Naomi finds herself telling a lie: ‘My daughter is missing.’

Now she can never take it back…

Keeper by Jessica Moor

Keeper by Jessica Moor

When Katie Straw’s body is pulled from the waters of the local suicide spot, the police decide it’s an open-and-shut case. A standard-issue female suicide.

But the residents of Widringham women’s refuge where Katie worked don’t agree. They say it’s murder.

Will you listen to them?

The Less Dead by Denise Mina

The Less Dead by Denise Mina

When Margo goes in search of her birth mother for the first time, she meets her aunt, Nikki, instead. Margo learns that her mother, Susan, was a sex worker murdered soon after Margo’s adoption. To this day, Susan’s killer has never been found.

Nikki asks Margo for help. She has received threatening and haunting letters from the murderer, for decades. She is determined to find him, but she can’t do it alone…

Are there any other books for fans of Baptiste and The Missing that should’ve made our list? Let us know in the comments below!

24 Comments

    Definitely some books I will be following up on from this list. You might also want to consider Lisa Jewell’s Then She Was Gone, Sharon Bolton’s Then She Was Gone, Nicci French’s Blue Monday, and Kate Atkinson’s When Will There Be Good News

    After the crash by Michel Bussi. In fact, all of his books!

    Try the medium or the catfish by David Hatton both brilliant and gripping thrillers

    Try the Harry Hole series by Jo Nesbo, amazing story telling and character development through the series.

    Try david baldacci intelligent thought provoking books

    I’ve read all of The David raker series by Tim Weaver and they were brilliant! Found this page looking for similar books and the suggestions are great but I’m hoping to find another series!

    I have read all the Tim Weaver books and highly recommend them

    After Anna has a similar storyline to The Missing, and is written in the abductors view – haven’t read it yet but it looks good!!

    Tim Weaver is brilliant. Love the character of David Raker and all the books in that series. I’ve read ‘Vanished’. It’s excellent.

    Home by Harlan Cohen is about two missing boys, brilliant . All his books are and I am still
    trying to read everyone.

    White is the Coldest Colour by John Nicholl. A dark and brooding eye opener of a book packed with suspense. Psychological thrillers don’t get any more gripping than this.

    Pretty Girl 13 by Liz Coley. I was really reminded of it in the first couple of episodes of The Missing. Really messed with my head at the time, but really good!

    It’s about a girl who is kidnapped at age 13 and then wanders back home three years later with absolutely no memory of what happened. The story then follows her and her parents’ attempt to find out what happened to her in the missing three years, only to discover far more than any of them bargained for.

    Highly recommend it if you like this sort of thing!

    Just read a fab book, with a fantastic twist at the end. Killing, time. Killing by Alan read. It’s a must if you like the serial killer genre. A bit disturbing, but compelling, I couldn’t put it down.

    Great list. Can I add The Lost Child by Ann Troup? Set in present time, 30 years after a 3 year old girl went missing from a small village in Devon

    I love the missing it’s my fav ??❤️ So sad and such a shame it’s only 8 episodes and season one was finished and I don’t think this one will be either. It’s going to be hare to wait for the new season if there is one. Which I dear hope there is ❤️❤️?

    Arrowood by Laura McHugh. Great novel about a woman whose twin baby sisters went missing from the family home when she was eight years old.

    Great list! Really liked this article! What about After Anna by Alex Lake and My Husbands Son by Deborah O’Connor too? !

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