Gone Without a Trace

Gone Without a Trace

by Mary Torjussen

Overview: A jaw-dropping novel of psychological suspense that asks, If the love of your life disappeared without a trace, how far would you go to find out why?

Hannah Monroe's boyfriend, Matt, is gone. His belongings have disappeared from their house. Every call she ever made to him, 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 Hannah struggles to get through the next few days, with humiliation and recriminations whirring through her head, she knows that she'll do whatever it takes to find him again and get answers. But as soon as her search starts, she realizes she is being led into a maze of madness and obsession. Step by suspenseful step, Hannah discovers her only way out is to come face to face with the shocking truth...

Elise Cooper (06/14/17): Gone Without A Trace by Mary Torjussen is a compelling mystery and psychological thriller involving relationships. The themes of loss, secrets, and betrayal are powerfully explored. Obsession, losing one’s self worth, and wondering what happened in a partner’s disappearance makes the story very suspenseful.

An on-line forum where people discuss their problems influenced the author. “I read of one woman’s post where she came home from work and saw her boyfriend had left, taking almost everything with him. I wanted to write about these cowardly partners who end a relationship without any explanation, not even a note or text. Then I thought how technology aids by allowing someone to block and delete the other person. How cruel and horrible to just cut it off. How many of us would be like Hannah, unable to rest until we know what happened?”

The main character, Hannah, returns from a daylong conference only to find her boyfriend, Matt, has disappeared without a trace. Worse yet, all his possessions were also gone as if he never existed in the first place. Erased are all of his email conversations and text messages with Hannah, and he does not seem to have any presence on the Internet.

She devotes her life to finding him or at least what happened with the help of her supposed best friend Katie and her former boyfriend James. Being preoccupied with this task affects her work and attitude. She is missing deadlines, looking haggard, and becoming short-tempered. What became a certainty is that someone appeared to be watching her every move, making strange phone calls and text messages. As she becomes a shell of herself readers want to shake her and have her take Katie’s advice to just move on.

With these new social norms “Dear John” letters of the past seem like a kind way of ending a relationship. Although the story was written only from the perspective of Hannah, an unreliable narrator, it almost had to be scripted that way because of all the plot twists. The second half of the book was definitely jaw dropping and readers’ emotions would range from sympathy to hate as the plot progresses.

The author noted, “How well do we really know someone. If they did something spiteful or malicious would they reveal it to their intimate partner? Hannah kept the secret of her abusive father. There is this saying, ‘Street Angel, House Devil.’ On the outside he was charming, successful, and handsome. Yet, at home things were completely different where he became evil.”

Both the current and future books have a plot that deals with the characters’ obsession, jealousy, hatred, and secret betrayals. Anyone who enjoys reading about believable relationships will relish this plotline, including the dark conclusion of Gone Without A Trace.

Rating: *****

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