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Life can change in an instant. For Ryan and Karen Lane, it happens on the morning they discover their 12-year-old daughter’s window open, their beloved Maddie missing from her bed.

Police investigate. Suspicions swirl. A teenage boy admits he was outside her bedroom window the night she disappeared. A halfway house for convicts recently opened in the neighborhood. The Lane family is thrown into turmoil, then detectives turn their sights on them.

No one is ruled out. Not Karen, with her tragic past, who argued with her daughter. Not Ryan, with his violent streak. Not Maddie’s 13-year-old brother, Tyler, who heard voices in her room the night she vanished.

Days, weeks, months, then agonizing years go by without answers, the Lanes fearing that Maddie is gone forever…until a stunning twist shocks everyone, plunging the family deeper into a world of buried secrets whose revelations threaten the very foundation of their lives.

The Big Thrill caught up with award-winning author Rick Mofina to discuss his latest thriller, MISSING DAUGHTER:

Which took shape first: plot, character, or setting?

It was a combination that all came together at the same time. I wanted to present ordinary everyday blue-collar people facing the most extraordinary circumstances in a place that could be anywhere.

What attracts you to this book’s genre?

The fact that thrillers are unputdownable, that they are page-turning compulsions that take readers hostage and don’t let them go.

What was the biggest challenge this book presented? What about the biggest opportunity?

I became so absorbed in the characters and the story and the time that elapses in the unfolding of the tale, that I had to go back and trim parts that were not needed for the final version. Don’t get me wrong, they were needed to get me there, but in the end, removing them made the book the story it was meant to be—the one I intended to tell.


Rick Mofina is a former journalist who has interviewed murderers on death row in Montana and Texas, flown over L.A. with the LAPD and patrolled with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police near the Arctic. He’s also reported from the Caribbean, Africa and Kuwait’s border with Iraq. His true-crime freelance work has appeared in The New York Times, The Telegraph (London, U.K.), Reader’s Digest, Penthouse, Marie Claire and The South China Morning Post, (Hong Kong). He has written more than 20 crime fiction thrillers that have been published in nearly 30 countries.

His work has been praised by James Patterson, Dean Koontz, Michael Connelly, Lee Child, Tess Gerritsen, Jeffery Deaver, Louise Penny, Sandra Brown, James Rollins, Brad Thor, Nick Stone, David Morrell, Allison Brennan, Heather Graham, Linwood Barclay, Peter Robinson, Håkan Nesser and Kay Hooper.

The Crime Writers of Canada, The International Thriller Writers and The Private Eye Writers of America have listed his titles among the best in crime fiction. As a two-time winner of Canada’s Arthur Ellis Award, a four-time Thriller Award finalist and a two-time Shamus Award finalist, the Library Journal calls him “One of the best thriller writers in the business.”

To learn more about Rick and his work, please visit his website.