The Vanishing by Jayne Ann Krentz

The Vanishing by Jayne Ann Krentz
Publisher: Jove
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Paranormal, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Decades ago in the small town of Fogg Lake, The Incident occurred: an explosion in the cave system that released unknown gases. The residents slept for two days. When they woke up they discovered that things had changed—they had changed. Some started having visions. Others heard ominous voices. And then, scientists from a mysterious government agency arrived. Determined not to become research subjects of strange experiments, the residents of Fogg Lake blamed their “hallucinations” on food poisoning, and the story worked. But now it has become apparent that the eerie effects of The Incident are showing up in the descendants of Fogg Lake.…

Catalina Lark and Olivia LeClair, best friends and co-owners of an investigation firm in Seattle, use what they call their “other sight” to help solve cases. When Olivia suddenly vanishes one night, Cat frantically begins the search for her friend. No one takes the disappearance seriously except Slater Arganbright, an agent from a shadowy organization known only as the Foundation, who shows up at her firm with a cryptic warning.

A ruthless killer is hunting the only witnesses to a murder that occurred in the Fogg Lake caves fifteen years ago—Catalina and Olivia. And someone intends to make both women vanish.

Catalina and Olivia grew up together in a small town called Fogg Lake. Having gone into the private investigator business together the two life-long friends are surprised but happy to find they not only enjoy it but are quite talented at it too. But when Olivia goes missing and Slater Arganbright turns up on her doorstep seeking help and an offer Catalina can’t refuse, their lives suddenly become a whole lot more complicated.

I have been a huge fan of Krentz and her various series for a number of years now. I have always thoroughly enjoyed her romantic suspense series and I was curious when she clearly started this new series (the Fogg Lake trilogy) as a new paranormal romantic suspense. Readers who have enjoyed her Arcane series, or the Harmony based books under her pseudonym Jayne Castle should find this book runs along a similar vein and enjoy it. I could understand though if readers who pick this book up having not read anything previously by Krentz might find that there’s a fair bit of terminology and references that they have to catch up on. Personally, I wouldn’t let coming to this book cold stop me from giving it a try – I strongly feel that Krentz is a superlative writer and she excels at romantic suspense. I absolutely feel this book is well worth a bit of effort in understanding her paranormal powers and world, but I could understand if it might not suit every readers tastes.

While the paranormal aspects to the story are very strongly influential to the plot, I did feel the more usual mystery/suspense (the plotlines of who killed the paranormal artefacts dealer and what happened to/who kidnapped Olivia) are still very well written and gripping each in their own rights. The romance blossoming between Catalina and Slater was very well written and quite steamy in places, but I have to admit I felt for much of the book this took a somewhat back seat to the other more vibrant plotlines going on.

Also understandably since this is the first book in the trilogy there was a bit of world building and scene setting – which I quite enjoyed, but other readers might feel slowed the pace of the plot in the very beginning of the book. Personally I’d have thought not setting the scene properly – explaining who Catalina and Olivia are, what the circumstances of day-to-day life was in Fogg Lake etc would have been highly unusual and likely lessened my enjoyment of the story, but for a modern romantic suspense often a breakneck pace and having the plot be highly action orientated is considered necessary. Additionally, while the main plots of this story are well rounded and fully resolved – there is clearer a larger story arc that encompasses the whole trilogy, so there are still plenty of questions left revolving around this much larger arc.

An exceptional writer, I find Krentz almost never misses the mark and this was yet another excellent story to add to my shelf of hers. Interesting characters, a few gripping plotlines all neatly interwoven and a steamy romance really had me eagerly turning the pages well into the night. A brilliant read and one I can strongly recommend.

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