‘Then She Vanishes’ by Claire Douglas



Jess and Heather were once best friends – until the night Heather’s sister Flora vanished. The night that lies tore their friendship apart.

But years later, when a brutal double murder shakes their childhood town, Jess returns home.

Because the suspect is Heather.

What happened to the girl you used to know?



My Review

I have read a couple of Claire’s books now and those I have read, I have thoroughly enjoyed.  That said I have a couple of her other books still to read.  Judging by how much I enjoyed reading ‘Then She Vanishes’ and having reminded myself how fabulous a writer Claire is, I can guarantee that her remaining books will not be on that ‘to be read’ mountain for very much longer.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘Then She Vanishes’ but more about that in a bit.

One of the main characters in this book is a young woman called Jess.  I can’t say that I liked her but I did feel myself warming to her slightly throughout the book.  She is a young reporter on a local newspaper.  It emerges that a shocking murder has taken place in her home town/ village and the woman suspected of being the murderer is actually one of her childhood friends.  When Jess and her friend Heather were younger, a young girl disappeared and Jess and Heather’s friendship never really recovered.  Jess seems to have tried to escape her roots but even though she has tried escaping, she is drawn back by this murder.  Jess senses that she could be the one to get a world exclusive.  I know journalists have to make a living but I find it ever so slightly wrong that she could use her childhood friendship and exploit a family’s misery just so that she (Jess) could get a leg up as it were.  Jess doesn’t get the reception from Heather’s mother that she thought she might.  Heather being the suspected murderer.  Jess is stubborn, tenacious, determined, temperamental, hard working and persistent.  I can’t imagine ever being friends with her as elements of her behaviour kept irritating me.  As she was trying to gather her ‘scoop’ I felt myself becoming ever more irritated by the lengths she was going to.

It didn’t take me long at all to get into this book.  The story certainly starts with a bang and in such a way that ensures it will stay fresh in my mind for a long time to come.  I found that the further I got into the story, the more intrigued I became, the more questions I needed answering and consequently I was unable to put the book down.  I would pick the book up only intending to read a couple of chapters but I was still sat there reading over half a dozen chapters later.  The book wasn’t exactly glued to my hand but it might as well have been because it came everywhere with me.  It was as if the book had developed a hold over me and I feared breaking that hold if I put the book to one side for even just a nanosecond.

‘Then She Vanishes’ is really well written as are all of Claire’s books.  After the Prologue, the chapters are written from the viewpoints of Jess and of Margot, who is the mother of the main suspect Heather, with the occasional flashback to events as they happened back in the day and the occasional chapter from the viewpoint of a hospital inpatient, whose identity will become evident as you delve further into the story.  This way of telling the story works really well and the story flows seamlessly.  Claire certainly knows how to grab your attention from the start, she draws you into the story and she keeps you and your attention in the palm of her hand throughout the book.  I found that Claire’s writing style is easy to get used to and easy to get along with.

Reading ‘Then She Vanishes’ was much like being on one hell of a scary and unpredictable rollercoaster ride with several twists and turns along the way.  I must admit that I was not expecting the huge twist that came along and hit me.  I don’t want to go too much into what happens as I would hate to spoil the story for other readers.  What I will say is that the huge twist left me breathless and speechless, which doesn’t happen very often!!

In short, I thoroughly enjoyed this tense and dramatic story.  This was a gripping book that had me on the edge of my seat throughout.  I would have no hesitation at all in recommending Claire and her books.  I can’t wait to read what Claire comes up with next.  Here’s hoping we don’t have too long to wait but whilst I wait I will definitely be reading those books of Claire’s that I haven’t yet read.  The score on the Ginger Book Geek board is a very well deserved 5* out of 5*

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