The Vanishing Year
By Kate Moretti
Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
Buy on Amazon
We start The Vanishing Year with Zoe Whittaker, the woman who has it all. She’s the wife of one of the richest men in the country, and she never wants for anything. The world is at Zoe’s beck and call, but she’s lucky in another way. Some people find themselves in cold, static marriages. But you couldn’t find someone more loving than Henry Whittaker and he is the solid foundation that Zoe has been searching for all her life.
Zoe has a secret she keeps from everyone, even Henry, and it’s bubbling back up to the surface. Her life is in danger and money alone won’t be enough to save her. When her past catches up to her, will Zoe be able to maintain the life she’s loved for the past year? Or will she vanish without a trace, just like they said she would?
The Vanishing Year is one heck of a ride.
Keep in mind that any reviews I do about a mystery novel will need to be, by necessity, a little bit milk tea. I can’t discuss the important plot points, I can only touch on some themes… There’s one theme that’s incredible strong which runs throughout the novel, but if I mention the specifics, it immediately gives away the end of the novel.
So… let’s keep things vague!
The Vanishing Year is well-written and engaging with a female protagonist who makes sense to me. There are too many times when I’ve been reading a book and I feel like shouting at the pages. You want your protagonist to feel smart enough to have some self-preservation or at least to have a reason why she’s not protecting her own life. Zoe is intelligent and willing to do what’s right for herself. She might be selfish, but it feels understandable given her circumstances.
The supporting characters were strong in their own right as well, even if some of them fell flat.
There were some who were caricatures, showing up when they needed to push the plot forward. Otherwise, there’s a nice range of side personalities which help offset and highlight the different circumstances that Zoe lives in now. The distinction between her previous lives and the one she lives now is made abundantly clear.
Strangely enough, it was the interactions between female characters that were the most flat. Men and women interacted naturally enough (except when they weren’t supposed to). However, when we had only two females in the scene, there was this odd stiffness to the way they interacted with each other. The writing would falter when there were only female characters in the scene. It is a shame because this could have been a really strong story driven by its female relationships.
Instead, the relationships that matter are Zoe’s relationships with men. The three most important relationships are her interactions with her husband, with the male reporter who’s trying to help her dig into her past, and the gangster who’s got vengeance on his mind.
Still, the writing was solid, and it was a breath of fresh air for me. If you’re fascinated with True Crime or have been looking for a good mystery to pass the time, check out The Vanishing Year.
Starts off fantastic, fumbles in the middle, and then manages to stick the landing.