ABOUT THE BOOK:
Henry Cooley has good friends and a good life. He’s secure in his job and his relationship. He and Tom, the love of his life, are about to celebrate their twenty-first anniversary as a couple. Their son, CJ, is in his second year at Cal Arts. Henry’s only problems are his growing dissatisfaction with his job and the fact that Tom’s parents still hate him, even after all these years. At least those are his only problems until the morning he wakes up to discover Tom has vanished.
Carter Quinn warned readers ahead of time not to expect a HEA from Vanished, but I found myself still woefully unprepared for the reality of what that would mean. In fact, I dropped a few choice expletives in the reading of this one. Sure, I’ve read plenty of HFN books and even a few that left the main characters shattered and picking up the pieces at the end. Vanished isn’t like the others. It’s never blissfully happy spiraling into despair, but rather it’s desolate and dreary from the start. The somber tone is sobering, and despite it all, I wasn’t able to resist becoming engaged. Henry’s straight-forward manner in relating the tale gives you a front row seat to the heartache and fear, his misery and anxiety thrown in sharp relief to happier times.
How is it possible to build a romance with only one partner present? That’s precisely what Carter Quinn manages to do in this melancholy novella. I could feel the love and devotion Tom and Henry share despite Tom’s absence through the entirety of the story. Quinn shares flashbacks and emotional thoughts which cleverly build the foundation for their very solid relationship, each instance connecting you back to this couple.
Ultimately while reading I felt bereft and bewildered. How could this happen? About 1/3 of the way through my mind was racing with possibilities – had Tom left? Was Henry delusional or suffering some kind of dementia? Had some horrible fate befallen Tom? As the drama unfolded, I began to formulate my own version of a conspiracy theory; it seems as though everywhere Henry turns for help, someone’s dissuading him from taking action. This struck me as peculiar, and since I’m generally skeptical, the logical solution was some kind of collusion. Of course that begs the ultimate question: Why?
As the story builds, it’s clear Quinn hasn’t even begun to unleash the full extent of heartache and devastation. I thought I had experienced Henry’s emotional distress, but it was nothing compared to the numerous twists which left me in tears and feeling raw. Kleenex – you will need them. There’s so much I want to say about this book, but just simply can’t. I’ve probably already said too much. I really want each of you to experience the shock, surprise and pain firsthand without anything to spoil it. When you do, I hope you’ll come back and share your reactions.
One thing I can say is how this story reinforced that we need to live every moment to the fullest and never miss an opportunity to tell or show a loved one how much they mean to us. Time is precious, and you never know exactly how much you have with anyone. Also, beyond all else, always have hope. Even after ripping my heart out and shredding it into a million pieces, Quinn manages to give just that. Hope.
RATING: ONE BAD ASS BOOT, ONE STILETTO