Chloe Cates Is Missing
by Mandy McHugh
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 18 Jan 2022 | Archive Date 31 Dec 2021
Penzler Publishers, Scarlet
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 YouTube 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.
About the Author:
Mandy McHugh is a first-time novelist from Troy, NY. She holds an MA in English from the College of Saint Rose and a BA in English Education from Le Moyne College. Her works have appeared in various literary magazines and podcasts, and she lives in upstate NY (where the novel is set) with her husband, two kids, and dog.
"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
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 173 members
Thank you to Penzler Publishers and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review! What if a JoJo Siwa-like tween star went missing? Chloe Cates is Missing by Mandy McHugh is an explosive, unputdownable thriller with nonstop twists and turns! The story revolves around Chloe Cates, a 13 year-old YouTube star and influencer. Her real name is Abby, but thanks to her stage parents, she's known as Chloe Cates around the world. When she suddenly disappears, her heartbroken parents alert the police and all of their fans on social media. But was Chloe really kidnapped by a stranger? Or is something more sinister going on here? What secrets from the past are all of the characters hiding? Here is an excerpt from an opening chapter, which is from Jennifer's point of view: "How could Jackson say that to me? After everything we've done. All the hours and late nights and sacrifices I've made? Blood, sweat, tears, pounds-you name it, I've given to this blog. Everybody loves CC Spectacular, and that's not because of dumb luck. If this next promo series, goes viral, a lot of doors will open. A lot. TV. Movies. Merchandise. A recording contract. Chloe could be the next JoJo Siwa if we play our cards right. Opportunities-isn't that what every parent wants for their child? To give them a chance for a better life? Options we didn't even dare to dream about?" This book is basically Dance Moms meets Gone Girl. It's told from multiple first-person POVs, including both parents and Emelina, the lead detective investigating the case. Interspersed between these chapters are journal entries written by Chloe. As wacky as it sounds, the author hit it out of the park! I was expecting a good thriller, but I did not expect the author's debut novel to be this good. I could not put this book down. I had to keep reading to find out what happened next. Also, the twists are great. The book kept me guessing until the last page, and I couldn't predict when the book ended up. If you're intrigued by the excerpt above, or if you're a fan of thrillers in general, you won't regret checking out this book when it comes out in January!
What a wild ride the Cates’ family will take you on, in search of their missing daughter. With a potential kidnapping on their hands, a detective from the past steps in to help solve the crime. Hold on tight because the twists and turns will jolt you all around. Thank you for sending me a copy to review!
Chloe Cates is Missing has all the ingredients for a perfect thriller: dysfunctional family; a death; an abduction; secrets from the past and an alarming focus on social media and the extent to which it influences our lives. From start to finish it was a book I couldn’t put down, and the ending was delightfully ambiguous in a way that will torment readers long after the story ends. The book focuses on Chloe Cates, the teen sensation of an internet blog. Thirteen year old Abby Scarborough has known no life other than a life played out on screen. Her every move is crafted and filtered, and the whole family depend on the revenue the blog brings in. When she was a child Abby complied with her mother’s demands, but as she matures she becomes increasingly reluctant to have her key life moments played out for the entertainment of others. One seemingly normal weekend morning, the Scarborough family have their lives turned upside down when they realise Abby is missing. Detectives are called in and, conscious of this girl’s online presence, they take this threat seriously. Detective Emelina Stone is heading up the investigation, but she soon realises she has a closer link to the family than she’s comfortable with. The secret Emelina is keeping had me on tenterhooks, and I was desperate to see how it would be relevant. This secret isn’t given up easily, but it is VERY relevant to the events in the present. As the investigation progresses, a body is found. Suddenly, there seems to be a link between the disappearance of Abby and the murder of this missing girl. Trying to work out exactly what had happened drove me crazy, but I loved reading the way this unfolded in front of me. Without giving away important details, this was such a clever thriller. You could never be sure who was hiding what, and though my reading of the ending may not be accurate I like to think that the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree on this. Nobody comes out of it well, but it made for such an entertaining read. I’m grateful to the publishers for allowing me the opportunity to read this before publication.
What a wonderful twisted imaginative thriller! Abbey is being manipulated by her mom to be an internet sensation as Chloe. As this happens, the darkness and history inside her mother starts to come out. As a reader, I could never guess what would happen next. A first class thriller!
This is Mandy McHugh's debut novel and it is a stunner. Chloe Cates is an internet sensation known as CC Spectacular, but the world only sees the version of her that her "momager" Jen shows off in her blog. The truth is that Chloe Cates is actually 13 year old Abby Scarborough and all that she really wants is to be a normal teenager. With Jen choreographing her every move, that will never be possible... On the day that Chloe goes missing, we meet all of the possible suspects involved in her disappearance. Three of the primary suspects are her own family members - her older brother who wants to help her escape from their mother's clutches, her mother who wants her star to continue rising no matter the price of that fame, and her father who seems content to be in the background of their family's celebrity status. Detective Emilina Stone is determined to solve the mystery of Chloe's disappearance before it's too late, especially because of her shared history with Jen. I read this in one sitting and was on the edge of my seat until the very end. Five stars for this thrill ride!