How far would you go to save a family member who has dropped off the face of the earth?

To the ends of the earth, I'm sure, is most people’s reply.

But what if this wasn’t their first time disappearing, or even their second, or third?

And what if, this time, they don’t want to be found?

Molly Black is gone again, and the Black family’s reactions range from exasperated to terrified. She’s a loose cannon, according to straightlaced and uptight cousin Anne, who’s had to compete with carefree, magnetic Molly all her life. She’s just a child, according to her devoted Uncle John, who still sees Molly as the bereft teenager who lost both parents. She’s almost thirty, thinks Aunt V, who doesn’t understand all the fuss that the Black family insist on.

But this time, Molly’s disappearance seems different. She’s gone without a trace and now seems to be involved with the disappearance of another girl. Is this her usual caper around the world, getting into ridiculous and hilarious scenarios, or is something darker at play?

Quirky, full of heart and an emotional punch to the stomach, Alice Ryan’s debut novel viscerally conjures up the chaotic Black family, their family history laid out like a handmade patchwork quilt of vibrant personalities. Family lore connects seemingly polar opposite people and Ryan’s writing really shines when she captures that indefinable network of connection and shared history that only a family can experience, balancing the family banter that accepts you as you are - even if you're teased about it sometimes.

But as the family takes off to hunt her down once more, we realise Molly might not be the only one in need of saving. Identity, purpose and self-perception plague the Black family members as they search for Molly – and themselves. Do our roles within our families – the caretaker, the joker, the wanderer, the worrier – define us or limit us? Can we change who we are and still have a place in the family?

A heartbreaking, but uplifting read that treats grief, connection and loss with a light, but powerful hand, 'There’s Been a Little Incident’ shows us that sometimes, when we try to ‘fix’ others, we might really be trying to repair our own broken hearts.

There's Been a Little Incident is published by Head Of Zeus