Vanished, by Tim Weaver
David Raker has made a career finding the lost. A former journalist, he has spent the past four years finding the missing for those who want them back. When he is first approached by Julia Wren and asked to find her husband the case doesn’t appear too complicated. Sam Wren took the tube train into work on the morning of December 17th and was never seen again. But, as Raker knows, the tube has cameras everywhere so discovering where Wren went shouldn’t be too hard. Except that watching the security footage again and again doesn’t clarify anything. Sam Wren can be seen getting onto the tube, can be spotted in the carriage at a few of the stations and then isn’t there anymore. He hasn’t been filmed getting off the tube though. Sam Wren has managed to disappear into thin air during the morning rush-hour.
At the same time the police are investigating the disappearances of young men. All the men lived alone and had few social contacts. All the men disappeared without a trace with only their hair, shaved of and left on their pillows, left behind. After getting into trouble during an earlier, very personal and emotional case, Colm Healy has a difficult time getting himself working on the disappearances but when he does he investigates with dogged determination. He needs this case to re-establish himself as a good investigator, even if his colleagues are waiting for him to fuck up and destroy his career forever. But, while Healy is swallowing his pride and keeping his head down in order to get his career back, he is also pursuing something and someone else. A pursuit that could cost him his job, and with it his last connection to his old life.
As the two cases appear to connect, Raker is ordered to drop his investigation into Wren’s disappearance. But Raker is not convinced that the police are on the right track, and can’t reconcile what he knows about the missing man with the conclusions the official investigators have come up with. A tenuous cooperation between Raker and Healy brings back memories of past tragedies as well as huge risk for both of them.
This was a good thriller. From the very first moment, when Raker decides to investigate the strange disappearance, nothing is as it seems. Everybody has secrets and Sam Wren is no exception. But Wren’s secrets are better hidden than most, and uncovering what has been hidden for such a long time doesn’t lead to answers rather than more questions and doubts. This is the third book featuring David Raker and there are references to earlier books and investigations. And while I have no doubt that I would have had a better feel for both Raker and Healy if I had read the previous titles I didn’t feel as if I were missing vital information while reading this book.
Raker is a fascinating character to read about. He has his issues and dark sides but is basically a good man with his heart and priorities in the right place. I wasn’t as sure about Colm Healy. While it is easy to understand why the man was as dark as he was, I couldn’t help feeling that he wouldn’t have been an easy or nice man even before everything went wrong for him. The story in this book is fascinating with lots of twists and turns quite a few cliff-hangers and shocks even after it all appears to be over.
I’m not sure how I feel about the ending of the book though. To call those final two pages ambiguous would be an understatement. And I guess we will have to wait for Tim Weaver’s next book before we find out what exactly we were told there.