Saturday, December 11, 2021

Book & Audio Review: Vanished by Karen Robards


Karen Robards
Narrator: Joyce Bean
Publication: Berkley; Reprint edition (June 5, 2007); Brilliance Audio (October 17, 2008)
Length: 13 hours and 25 minutes; 430 p.

Description: When she receives a call from a child who sounds exactly like her missing daughter Lexie, Sarah Mason turns to her closest friend in the world, P.I. Jake Hogan. Jake is convinced that someone is deliberately tormenting the grief-stricken mother. But as their friendship explodes into passion-and the torment escalates into murder-Jake is the only person who can keep Sarah safe in their horrifying search for the truth...

My Thoughts: Sarah Mason, who works in the District Attorney's office, stops at a convenience store for some dog food and finds herself in the middle of a robbery. The clerk is murdered, but Sarah and young Angie are able to escape the building. But when Sarah is shot, Angie runs off. She comes to in the hospital with her best friend PI Jake Hogan by her bedside.

Sarah and Jake became friends when Sarah's five-year-old daughter Lexie vanished from a park in Beaufort, South Carolina, when they were on their way to a T-ball Awards party. When the police didn't seem to be doing enough, the young mother went to Jake who had just left the FBI to take over the family's investigation bureau. Seven years later, there is still no resolution for Sarah. Lexie seemingly vanished without a trace. 

Sarah has buried herself in her work since Lexie's disappearance. She barely eats, barely sleeps, and is hyper-focused on her grief. When she gets a phone call, purportedly from Lexie begging her for help, Jake is her first call. But Jake wants to look at who might want to cause Sarah so much pain and helps her realize that the call couldn't be from Lexie.

Sarah has lots of potential sources for those who might want to derail her and sidetrack her. She is heavily involved in the Helitzer case concerning a socially prominent man who, Sarah believes, murdered his wife. She's also involved in a case where a stripper has accused a couple of cops of rape which has much of the police force turning against Sarah. There are other cases too.

There are other bits of harassment after the first phone call. Someone enters Sarah's house and scatters Lexie's toys around. Someone writes a code word only known to Sarah and Lexie on Sarah's car window. And then young Angie vanishes which brings all the terrors of the day Sarah lost Lexie right back...

The story was intense and fast-paced. It was emotionally harrowing to watch Sarah try to deal with her loss. It was equally harrowing to watch Jake, who had fallen deeply in love with Sarah, try to help, support, and protect the woman he has come to love. 

The story was narrated by Joyce Bean who did an excellent job dealing with the voices and the emotional intensity of the story. 

Favorite Quote:
Still snarling, Sweetie-pie hesitated, fixing his beady black eyes on Jake like Tony Soprano eyeing a possible FBI plant. Jake grimaced, reminding himself that he had too much manly pride to abandon his post, and did his hundred-thousandth mental head shake at Sarah's choice of a pet. The dog was a mixed breed with the head of a pit bull and the muscular body of a rottweiler. His coat was short and rough, mostly black with a few tan markings. Each of his paws was the size of one of Sarah's hands. His tail was long and thick and carried low; none of this stupid tail-wagging stuff for Sweetie-pie. He was not -- repeat, not -- a tail-wagging kind of dog.
I bought this paperback sometime before February 2008. I bought the audio version just recently. You can buy your copy here.

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