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Then She Vanishes

Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas

Many years ago, in the quiet town of Tilby, teenager Flora Powell went out, never to be seen again. Now, her sister, Heather, has committed an unthinkable crime, her own life hanging in the balance. Journalist Jess, tasked with writing about the event, has more reasons than most to uncover the truth – she used to be Heather’s best friend and was there the day Flora disappeared. Jess knows she must face her past and return to where it all began. Just what exactly happened to Flora and how is it linked to current events?

This is one of those books that gets you hooked from the first chapter as we witness the fatal shooting of a man and his elderly mother by a calm, cold-blooded killer. From the outset, we are introduced to the main mysteries in the book: Who is the killer? Who are the victims? What links them? As the book progresses, it soon becomes apparent that there are more secrets in the Powell family and that the disappearance of Flora seems to be, somehow, linked to the killings. The story alternates between the present day investigation and the run-up to Flora’s disappearance, twenty years ago, providing us with a fast-paced, gripping plot that just makes you not want to put the book down!

I liked the character of Jess who we see battling with her emotions, feeling the pressure from her boss to exploit her relationship with the family to secure exclusive interviews with the family. This was particularly difficult for her as we discover the reason for her leaving her previous post was due to the much-publicised phone hacking scandal, so she could really do with keeping her work above board. For much of the book, I did not know how I felt about Heather, but I think that this is the author’s intention: she is a multi-faceted character who, to understand her fully, you will need to read the whole book.

Although there are some parts of the mystery that do not come as a surprise, there are quite a few red herrings along the way which make you change your theory as you are reading. There are enough shifty characters to make you question which of them were involved in Flora’s disappearance, each with their own motive. The revelation of what exactly happened to Flora is a particularly shocking one, and one that filled me with hatred for those responsible.

I have really enjoyed reading Claire Douglas’s books before – take a look at my reviews of Last Seen Alive and Local Girl Missing – and this one is another fantastic read. If you’re looking for a thriller that will grab and hold your attention, one of those ‘just one more chapter’ books, then Then She Vanishes is the book for you! Highly recommended!

With thanks to Penguin UK – Michael Joseph and Netgalley for my copy.

Monthly Round Up – June 2019

We are now into the second half of the year and I am on schedule to meet my Goodreads target although my Net Galley books just don’t seem to be going down – a problem I’m sure many of you share!

Books I’ve Read

The Ghost of Hollow House by Linda Stratmann

The latest in the Mina Scarletti series sees the Victorian author / ghost debunker investigating the ghostly goings-on at the ancient Hollow House. With secrets lurking around every corner, just what will Mina manage to uncover?

Forget My Name by J S Monroe

When a woman turns up unannounced at a house, claiming to live there, the occupants have no idea who she is. With no memory of who she is, it soon becomes clear that there is something strange going on but who is she and what is her connection to the house? A great psychological thriller.

The Sinclair Betrayal by M J Lee

When genealogist Jayne Sinclair decides to bite the bullet and investigate her own family history, little does she know what she is about to uncover. Murder, espionage and Wartime Europe all help to create a thrilling book which is my favourite of the series so far.

The Elizabeth Tudor Conspiracy by Alexandra Walsh

The second in the Marquess House dual timeline series takes us back to the reign of Elizabeth I. With more revelations which could threaten British History as we know it, Perdita and Piper Rivers must tread carefully if they are to protect their own lives.

Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas

Twenty years ago, teenager Flora Powell disappeared. Now, her sister, Heather, stands accused of the bloody murder of a man and his elderly mother. Are the events somehow linked and what actually happened to Flora? This is full of twists and turns – a superb read!

Books I’ve Acquired

Nothing has felt right since she told the lie… 

Claire Carmichael leads a charmed life. She has two beautiful sons, Jamie and Joshua, and a handsome and successful husband who loves her. She has been taught well by her mother – the most important thing Claire has is her good reputation. 

He said, she said… 

Even when she was in school, Claire had it all. She was clever, likable, and after passing the initiation tests, she was welcomed into the society of popular girls – The Queen Bees. So when a scandal threatened to ruin Claire’s reputation, the Queen Bees closed rank to protect her, no matter who else got hurt. 

Never forgotten, never forgiven… 

Claire may have moved on from her school days, but for one person who she hurt irreparably, those memories are as fresh as blood. And all it takes to reap their revenge, is ONE PERFECT LIE.

If only someone had listened… 

When the supposed suicide of famous Scottish football coach Harry Nugent hits the headlines, the tabloids are filled with tributes to a charitable pillar of the community that gave so much back to sport and to those less fortunate. 

But something isn’t right. Normally celebrities are queuing up to claim to have had a very special relationship with the deceased, but investigative journalist Oonagh O’Neil is getting the distinct impression that people are trying to distance themselves from Harry. 

Oonagh’s investigation leads her to uncover a heartbreakingly haunting cover-up that chills her to the core… and places her in mortal danger from those willing to protect their sadistic and dark secrets at any cost…

Finally we’re playing a game. A game that I have chosen. I give one last push of the roundabout and stand back. ‘You really should have played with me,’ I tell her again although I know she can no longer hear.

Late one summer evening, Detective Kim Stone arrives at Haden Hill Park to the scene of a horrific crime: a woman in her sixties tied to a swing with barbed wire and an X carved into the back of her neck. 

The victim, Belinda Evans, was a retired college Professor of Child Psychology. As Kim and her team search her home, they find an overnight bag packed and begin to unravel a complex relationship between Belinda and her sister Veronica.

Then two more bodies are found bearing the same distinctive markings, and Kim knows she is on the hunt for a ritualistic serial killer. Linking the victims, Kim discovers they were involved in annual tournaments for gifted children and were on their way to the next event. 

With DS Penn immersed in the murder case of a young man, Kim and her team are already stretched and up against one of the most ruthless killers they’ve ever encountered. The clues lie in investigating every child who attended the tournaments, dating back decades.

Faced with hundreds of potential leads and a bereaved sister who is refusing to talk, can Kim get inside the mind of a killer and stop another murder before it’s too late?

April 1980 and Jane is the first female detective to be posted to the Met’s renowned Flying Squad, commonly known as the ‘Sweeney’. Based at Rigg Approach in East London, they investigate armed robberies on banks, cash in transit and other business premises. 

Jane thinks her transfer is on merit and is surprised to discover she is actually part of a short term internal experiment, intended to have a calming influence on a team that likes to dub themselves as the ‘Dirty Dozen’. 

The men on the squad don’t think a woman is up to the dangers they face when dealing with some of London’s most ruthless armed criminals, who think the only ‘good cop’ is a dead cop. Determined to prove she’s as good as the men, Jane discovers from a reliable witness that a gang is going to carry out a massive robbery involving millions of pounds. 

But she doesn’t know who they are, or where and when they will strike . . .

I can’t wait to read the next in the Jane Tennison and Kim Stone series! Happy reading!

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