Review: Vanished by James Delargy


Title: Vanished

Author: James Delargy

Published: 5th May 2021, Simon & Schuster Australia

Status: Read May 2021 courtesy Simon & Schuster Australia

+++++++

My Thoughts:

“A family was missing. They had been in the town and then they weren’t. What they were even doing therein the first place wasn’t yet known. No one should have been there. No one had for close to fifty years.”

James Delargy has followed his impressive debut novel, 55, with another compelling thriller set in Australia’s unforgiving outback, Vanished.

Tasked to investigate the disappearance of the Maguire family, Lorcan, his wife Naiyana, and their six year old son, Dylan, from Kallayee, an abandoned town on the edge of the Great Victoria Desert, Major Case Squad Detective Emmaline Taylor is puzzled by what she finds left behind – a home on the brink of collapse, its contents ransacked; blood smears, though not enough to suggest a fatality; a tunnel littered with chocolate bar wrappers, a dead end, like all their leads seem to be, until she finds a body being savaged by a pack of dingo’s on the outskirts of town.

Unfolding from multiple perspectives, shifting between before and after their disappearance, it soon becomes apparent that the Maguires left Perth to set up home in the remote West Australian ghost town not in the spirit of adventure, but because they had few alternatives available to them.

Though the Maguire’s tell themselves they are in Kallayee to become closer as a  family, the cracks in their marriage are obvious. They lie to themselves as much as they lie to each other and eventually neither Lorcan nor Naiyana are particularly sympathetic or even likeable. If not for the presence of Dylan I’m not sure I’d care much what happened to them. I liked Emmaline a lot though, she’s smart, determined and interesting.

Clever plotting ensures there are several possibilities, from the benign to the ominous, that may explain the family’s disappearance. Even though we are privy to information Emmaline is not, Delargy doesn’t share everything with the reader, subtly undermining what we think we know, allowing for surprising twists.

Short chapters ensure a good pace, and the author effectively builds the suspense in both timelines. The desolate, broken landscape creates a claustrophobic, hostile backdrop to the story that adds to the tension.

Vanished is a gripping, atmospheric thriller with an unexpected but satisfying conclusion.

++++++++

Available from Simon & Schuster Australia

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository I Booktopia I Amazon

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mystica
    May 20, 2021 @ 11:15:26

    The story is intriguing and I find the setting also very interesting. I have read just I think two books with an outback setting. I’d certainly like to read more.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  2. Jennifer
    May 21, 2021 @ 11:41:07

    Thank you, Shelleyrae. I have now added this to my library list 🙂

    Like

    Reply

  3. Trackback: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon | book'd out
  4. Helen Murdoch
    May 24, 2021 @ 08:14:40

    I am also supportive of short chapters, which I know shouldn’t impact how much I like a book. This one sounds good.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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