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 web 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.
McHugh's gripping debut focuses on Jennifer Scarborough, who has been grooming her daughter, Abby, for media stardom for nearly 10 years. Since Abby was four, she has been photographed, videoed, and packaged under the name Chloe Cates in Jennifer's popular blog, CC and Me. Jennifer, who cherishes her identity as a blogger and entrepreneur, won't let anyone stand in the way of her dreams for her daughter—not even the girl herself. Meanwhile, 13-year-old Abby writes in her journal: "Everybody knows CC Spectacular, but Abby Scarborough doesn't exist, not on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat—nowhere that counts... Who cares about me when Chloe is the star?" Chloe's subsequent disappearance is national news, and the internet is fueled with viral hashtags like #CatchChloeCates trending on every major platform. Emilina Stone, the detective with the Children and Family Services Unit in Albany, N.Y., who's assigned the case, declines to reveal to her superiors that she and Jennifer were childhood friends. Chapters told from multiple perspectives skillfully tease out the characters' respective secrets to reveal the rage lurking beneath their smiling faces. McHugh is off to a strong start.