Challenge 1 ~ “A book you meant to read in 2015, but didn’t.”
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
I’ve never read any of Anderson’s works, but I was drawn in by the blurb, and eager to read. I never managed to fit it into my challenge last year, so I made particular effort to find a spot this year, and I’m extremely glad I did. The Vanishing Season is an incredible read.
One of the problems I’ve found lately is that serial killer is often used in excess, but there is no doubt from the very start that Anderson is familiar with the meaning, and well-acquainted with the mystery genre in general. That being said, The Vanishing Season was far from what I was expected, which was similarly refreshing. Anderson skilfully develops the mystery, balancing background information alongside a first-person narrative, and providing believable characters that support a well-paced unravelling of the case. Throughout the novel this is assisted by an accessible and engaging writing style.
However, around 3/4 of the way through the novel, Anderson seems to take a change in tone, and suddenly the storyline develops in a completely new direction. I have to admit, this was a little odd, but Anderson handles it professionally and in the best manner possible. In a sense, this was disappointing – whilst it seemed for the first part to be a solid mystery story, this soon fades into a secondary storyline with a very dismissive conclusion – there was also a strength from this change. Throughout the novel I had been put off by the ‘ghost’ chapters, failing to see their relevance and finding them a distraction from the storyline. However, with this shift the ghost takes on a stronger relevance and meaning, drawing the whole novel together.
If you’re going in looking for a mystery story, you may find The Vanishing Season a little disappointing, but if you’re looking for a thrill from something a little different, Anderson’s novel definitely offers it. With a terrific style and literary strength, Anderson develops The Vanishing Season into a complete work, offering both suspense and twists to ensure reader engagement throughout. A most definite enjoyable story for fans anyone with even a slight interest in mysteries, thrillers or elements of the supernatural.
Recommended for fans of:
- The Missing by Lisa McMann
- The Dead House by Anne Cassidy
- The Vanishing of Katharina Linden by Helen Grant