Eighteen years ago, Jennifer Parke’s husband Brian stepped out into a rainy night for a quick walk down to the store for some cigarettes, and vanished. Neither the police nor private investigators could find even a hint of a lead. Eight years ago, he was declared legally dead, and Jennifer moved on with her life.
So it is quite the surprise when Brian’s body shows up suddenly, the victim of a hit-and-run. Strangely, it’s found in the middle of the very street he disappeared on. He’s in the same clothes, with the same wallet, and he’s still wet from that evening’s downpour. One other strange thing. He doesn’t appear to have aged a day in those 18 years.
What’s To Like...
The writing is polished and is pure storytelling. Stephen King would be proud. All of the characters – even the minor ones – are interesting to meet. This is not a cozy. There is some graphic violence and some sex. I found the style to work nicely.
The story is set in Australia, where Iain Edward Henn hails from. This means there are both Britishisms and Aussieisms. Kewlness.
There are two other plotlines – a serial killer with some problems of his own, and the world of Jennifer’s flourishing business. I was worried that bringing them together at the end would be clunky (or left undone), but everything resolves logically, surprisingly, and seamlessly. This is a standalone novel.
One quibble. At one point, “clouds of Carbon Monoxide“ are seen. Sorry, but Carbon Monoxide (CO) is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. Clouds of CO certainly exist, but you just-as-certainly won’t see them.
Kewlest New Word...
Pommy (adj.) : British. (Aussieism; usually disparaging, but sometimes affectionate)
“A pleasure to meet you,” said Kaplan. “We’ve just been hearing all about you.”
“Don’t believe a word.” She took her seat and nodded to Roger.
“We’ve heard only good things,” Kaplan told her.
“Like I said, don’t believe a word.” (loc. 838)
“I believe there have been cases like this before, Neil, cases that appear to deal with a range of ... inexplicable phenomena. They’re classified top secret, investigated by special units. Eventually the files are closed. Unresolved.”
“I don’t like to say it, but the only obvious fact or clue we have is one that makes no sense. Can’t officially be considered by the department. Parkes and Brayson simply appear to have slipped through time in the blink of an eye, like characters from a H.G. Wells novel.” (loc. 2438)
Disappear sells for $0.99 at Amazon, which is a really good deal. Iain Edward Henn has one other novel, The Delta Chain, available for the Kindle. It sells for $2.99, and appears to be of the same genre.
“For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and melt into the sun.” (loc. 1907)
Disappear is both a Whodunit and a Howdunit. Is the mystery of Brian Parke’s non-aging natural or supernatural? Was (not "Is", since he’s dead) he a time-traveler, or did he find the Fountain of Youth? I enjoy this uncertainty of the genre. The only other author(s) I can think of who write this way is the team of Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child.
I call Disappear a “goldilocks mystery”. It’s not too simple and not too complex. The “who” of the whodunit is neither obvious nor arbitrary. Everything is “just right” about this book.
9 Stars. It is always a pleasure when you find a gem for your Kindle, by an author you’re not acquainted with, and for under $1.00.