Title: Then She Vanishes
Author: Claire Douglas
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Everything changed the night Flora Powell disappeared.
Heather and Jess were best friends – until the night Heather’s sister vanished.
Jess has never forgiven herself for the lie she told that night. Nor has Heather.
But now Heather is accused of an awful crime.
And Jess is forced to return to the sleepy seaside town where they grew up, to ask the question she’s avoided for so long:
What really happened the night Flora disappeared?
Then She Vanishes is another great psychological thriller from an author I always enjoy reading – Claire Douglas. It manages to stay away from being too dramatic or unbelievable, instead presenting to the reader an interesting story which starts with a real bang – a woman shoots two seemingly random people – and completely hooked me in. I think it’s partly because we don’t often see women in literature who kill, especially with guns, without an obvious reason, so this was a very shocking start!
The story swings between perspectives, which I really liked. We heard from various characters including Jess, who as a kid used to be best friends with Heather, who is in hospital in a coma and is the prime suspect in the killing. Jess is now an investigative journalist, tasked with writing a story about the murders, and she has to battle with her own guilt about using her connection to Heather and her mum Margot to advance her own career. Of course, she gets sucked into trying to find out what really happened…
As always, Claire Douglas has created a story with lots of red herrings and twists, leaving the reader guessing and, although there are some more predictable parts, I found that I didn’t guess anywhere near what had happened until right towards the end. I liked that the story has a strong ‘whodunnit’ element but also develops the character’s back stories really well, which is supported by the changes in timescale, moving around from when Heather and Jess were kids through to the present day.
I really enjoyed this gripping thriller, and feel it lives up to the high standard set by the author’s other books. Definitely recommended!
Many thanks to Michael Joseph for providing a copy of this book on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.