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.
BUY LINK: Amazon
REVIEWER: Dolorianne, 5
I have to add my name to the growing list of readers who loved this book. Quinn is quick to warn readers that Vanished isn’t a romance and he’s right, obviously. But he’s wrong, too. Henry and Tom’s story is long and beautiful and hard and complicated and fun and loving and romantic. It just isn’t stereotypical or conventional. But trying to categorize Vanished into any other sub-genre isn’t possible either. Contemporary. Suspense/thriller. Mystery. Romance. It’s all of these things, and none of these things all at the same time.
Something I loved about Vanished is the dual timeline. I’m not usually a fan of flashbacks but they were completely necessary here. A linear timeline would not have inspired the same sense of urgency. Based on the blurb, we know before we start reading that Henry’s lover Tom is missing. But watching it unfold is pure mastery. The myriad of feelings and conflicting thoughts the reader experiences is nothing compared to what is happening in the story. I admit to changing my expectations at least a dozen times. The more I found out about who they were, who they are now, and all the time in between, the more I began to question what was really going on.
Twists? Yes. Many. Any time there was a feeling that you may have figured everything out, Quinn switched it up again. I loved that!
For such a short story, so much happens. There is no time to get settled, there are no “down” spots; Vanished keeps going until the very end. As the story comes to a close there is one last zinger. I was left speechless, which doesn’t happen very often when it comes to books. Of course, I had a question that I needed answered right away so I wrote to Quinn. The following is an edited version of our conversation, included with his permission.
By the way, just to be clear … Vanished is a highly recommended read!
Dolorianne: I loved Vanished and am going to be writing my review soon. Love what you said about your Dad in the beginning, and I’m sorry for your loss. I had that info in mind when I was reading and it seemed like some of the feeling you put into that story came from you personally.
Carter Quinn: Oh thank you. That means a lot. I’m sure knowing Dad was reaching the end informed a lot of the emotion in the book, but I started out writing it so that he’d have one he could read. So my plans were just not to have any sex or much affection in it. That was all added after he passed.
Dolorianne: Was Vanished always meant to be a series, did that change along the way? Or is this meant to be the kind of ending where the reader is supposed to fill in what they want for the ending … either he’s (spoiler) or (spoiler)? Open to the reader’s interpretation?
Carter Quinn: Haha. You caught me. It was intended to be a standalone, to let the readers create their own ending. I thought it would be a fun exercise to see what conclusions people came to. As I was putting it together for release, Henry kept popping back into my head, sort of yelling at me for leaving him there. So I realized I’d have to give him a happier ending.
Dolorianne: haha … I thought it was incredible. I’d love to continue on and am very happy to know you are planning to add to the story. I haven’t read a good psych-thriller in a while and this hit the spot. Is it ok for me to include that you’ve hinted at more to come in my review … or would you rather that be kept quiet for now?
Carter Quinn: Awesome! Thank you! I’m so glad it worked. lol I was nervous! I’m looking forward to delving into Henry’s world again. I have the next two outlined in my head, I just have to get them on paper.