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Reviewed by Tiffany Ferrell for Readers' Favorite
Moms of the Missing: Living the Nightmare by Steffen Hou is a collection of cases in which children (and adults) were abducted and in most cases never heard from again. Hou starts this non-fiction book with the case of Alicia Kozakiewicz, a thirteen-year-old who was fortunate to have survived her ordeal with an online predator who kidnapped and abused her, and would have eventually killed her had authorities not found her just in time. However, there are many that aren’t as lucky. Some are found dead and many never found at all. Moms of the Missing goes in-depth with the various types of abductions. Hou covers stranger abductions, human trafficking, long-term abductions, as well as chapters in which he describes most likely victims, the impact of DNA in these missing cases and the origins of profiling abductors and serial killers.
Moms of the Missing is a powerful book that gives a lasting effect and impression on a reader. Hou breaks down each case in a way that easily gets his message across to many. It can happen to anyone and anywhere. 'Be aware and educate yourself' is what I got from it. This book has literally given me nightmares the past three days that I’ve been reading it from start to finish. That’s not a bad thing. Steffen Hou drives home an issue that so many people don’t discuss more. For me, personally, there were cases that drove it really close to home, which explained the nightmares. The cases of Alicia Kozakiewicz and Christina Whittaker had the most impact on me on a very personal level.
Hou also focuses on the victims and not the criminals that committed the crimes. I feel this is something that the media often fails to do. You hear the victim's name but they are hidden behind the story which is so often about the guilty and the road that led them to kidnap and murder. I also like how he included the organizations that these mothers have created after what their children went through and the various ways to prevent an abduction, depending on the type. I think Moms of the Missing by Steffen Hou is a must-read for both parents and their adolescent children, and young adults alike. It might be a book that will haunt you but it teaches very valuable lessons that need to be learned.