Today is my stop in the Blog Tour with Berkley for the newly released Gone Without a Trace by Mary Torjussen! (Available now at your local retailer!)
How far would you go to find the one that got away?
From the imprint that published Fiona Barton’s instant New York Times bestseller The Widow and Clare Mackintosh’s global phenomenon I Let You Go, comes Mary Torjussen’s GONE WITHOUT A TRACE (Berkley Trade Paperback Original; 978-0-399-58501-2; April 11, 2017; $16.00)—an electric, compulsive thriller about a boyfriend’s unexplained disappearance, and its corrosive effects on the woman he left behind.
In GONE WITHOUT A TRACE, young professional Hannah returns from work to find her live-in boyfriend, Matt, is gone. His belongings have disappeared from their house. Every call she ever made, every text she ever sent, every photo of him and any sign of him on social media have vanished. It’s as though their last four years together never happened. As she struggles to get through the next few days, with humiliation and recriminations whirring through her head, she knows she’ll do anything to get answers. Where has he gone? Why has he left?
Then the messages start—cryptic and creepy texts and videos—and Hannah realizes that someone is watching her every move. And there are signs that someone has been in her house.
As her search for Matt progresses, Hannah treads further into madness and obsession—and the only way out is to come to terms with the one shocking truth she just can’t accept. . .
For anyone who has ever asked “Was it something I did?” GONE WITHOUT A TRACE brings to chilling light the doubt, fear, and obsession that can lie dormant in our most intimate relationships.
Shari Lapena, New York Times bestselling author of The Couple Next Door, says: “Gone Without a Trace has one of the most interesting narrators I’ve ever come across.”
Note: As stated under the Source (above), I received this book for free from Berkley via NetGalley. I pride myself on writing fair and honest reviews.
Summary: When Hannah comes from a business trip to find her boyfriend Matt gone, along with all of his things, she simply doesn’t know what to think. He’s returned her flat to the state it was in before he’d moved in. He’s left no note. Matt has, in every sense, erased himself from her life. And she has no idea why.
Hannah becomes obsessed with finding Matt so she can get answers, so that she can do to mend things. This obsession starts effecting her work, her friendships, her sleep. Her whole life becomes about figuring it all out.
It doesn’t help that she starts getting strange text messages on her phone, that she gets the sense that someone has been in her flat while she was out, leaving things disturbed in small ways that make her question her sanity. She’s convinced it is Matt trying to reach out to her, that maybe he can’t live without her after all. But is it Matt? And if so, why did he leave at all? Why doesn’t he just come back? Why has he hidden himself away? If it isn’t Matt, what does this person want with her?
Review: First off, I didn’t like Hannah. Truth be told, I didn’t like most of the characters. And while that made it somewhat hard to continue with the story, it was also essential to the plot. When most of the characters are unlikeable, there are so many likely culprits, with a plethora of possible motives.
As for the plot, it took a little while before I figured out why Matt left the way he did. Without giving too much away, I’ll just say that I suspect that gender-based stereotypes played heavily into my ability to see what would have otherwise been quite obvious. The subplot with the possible stalking…I didn’t figure out the who until close to the end, but I definitely knew who it wasn’t from early on.
The pace was a little slow for me. There were bits where it really felt like it was dragging, like why can’t we just move along now. I get it. She’s an unreliable narrator. We need to understand her past and her motivations. But, honestly. Being inside Hannah’s head was a bit much sometimes. Perhaps because I have my own anxiety demons, I don’t really have a lot of tolerance for living inside someone else’s anxious mind. My beasties are quite enough, thank you very much.
Writing this review out, it would seem that I didn’t enjoy it that much, but at the end of it all, I actually did. I think the approach was novel, as I suspect many readers still have the same gender bias that I do (blasted!), so the pieces won’t come together as quickly as they should. And beyond the why of Matt’s departure, the rest of it was beyond me. So, while the characters themselves actually ratcheted my anxiety up well beyond comfortable levels, it was ultimately all a mystery to me.