MISSING OR DEAD BY ELLEN SHAPIRO

GENRE: MYSTERY

REVIEW DATE: NOVEMBER 13, 2021 

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Cynthia Lambert has mysteriously vanished. The police have not found her body, and it appears their investigation is going nowhere. Cynthia’s friend, Joanie Gray, hires PI Tracey Marks to find out what happened to Cynthia. Joanie is adamant that Cynthia would never leave her family willingly.

As Tracey immerses herself in trying to find out what happened to Cynthia, she quickly learns there are forces working against her, and too many people who want her off the case, including Cynthia’s husband, John Lambert.


Questioning people in Cynthia’s life, Tracey learns that Cynthia and her husband had separated for a while and that he may be mixed up with a mob lawyer at the firm where he works. Before she vanished, Cynthia was canceling appointments and distancing herself from friends and family.

With Tracey’s life in danger, is time running out as she races to uncover the truth before it’s too late?

Missing or Dead, by Ellen Shapiro is an excellent page turning mystery. This mystery follows private investigator, Tracy Marks. Tracys newest case, investigating what happened to Cynthia Lambert. Cynthia vanished without a trace. Seeing that the police are not getting anywhere with the case, Cynthia’s friend hires Tracy in hopes she can uncover what happened. As Tracy pulls back the layers of secrecy behind this case, she learns it’s more than just a typical missing persons case.

At the start of the novel, Shapiro does a great job of letting the reader know what they are getting themselves into. From start to finish, the pacing of this book is 10 out of 10. Very well-written story and leaves the reader wanting more. Even though this is the third book in her series of mystery novels, the reader will not get lost. There are a few little callbacks to previous books, but nothing that will bewilder the reader. Shapiro does a good job giving the reader just enough context involving these callbacks to give you a small idea of what happened in pervious titles. Readers can look at this book as a standalone or as part of a series. Would it be more enjoyable if you read her previous titles, I’m sure it would be because you understand those nods to previous titles more clearly. I haven’t read the prior titles before starting this one, but I still enjoyed this title.

Let’s talk about the mystery. This is a mystery book at all. When I first started reading the book, I thought I had this case cracked. A few more chapters in as clues are being presented, I changed my mind and thought, okay this is how it’s going to end. The more I read, the more my mind kept changing. In no way, shape or form am I saying this is a bad thing. In fact, this is a great thing. Here I am thinking I’m the big bad armchair detective, but Shapiro kept me guessing. I really enjoyed that aspect of this book. That is my reason for this book being a page turner. After I got done with a reading for the day, I had more questions than answers. Shapiro’s experience as a PI shows. People say write what you know and she knows her stuff.

Well paced. Very enjoyable. This book keeps you guessing. Just when you think you know how this case is going to end, Shapiro throws a curve ball at you. If you are looking for a great mystery novel that will keep you thinking and the pages turning, I encourage you to go pick up Missing and Alone. Shapiro has a renown talent for writing mysteries. I look forward to seeing what her next great mystery will be.

Final Score

4 out 5 stars