"All of his novels were so fast-paced that the reader was compelled to turn the pages in a non-stop effort to reach the end of the book. The final page often produced a totally unexpected plot twist that would invariably leave even his most die-hard fans surprised. His early books contained some violence that matched the era in which they were written, though this was considerably toned down as plots centred more on circumstantial situations to create the high degree of tension that was the hallmark of his writing. Sex was never explicit and, though often hinted at, seldom happened" This is a Wikipedia description of James Hadley Chase, a prolific quaintly English crime writer of the 1950's, 60's 70's His novels were always tightly constructed, intricate without being overly complicated but at the same time fast and exciting reads. I do hope Tim Weaver will not mind when I compare his style of writing to that of Chase but with very modern twists and themes. From the opening paragraphs- of "Vanished" we the reader are immediately drawn in...."Healy looked down at the temperature readout as he pulled up outside the estate. Almost twenty degrees. It felt hotter than that. He'd had the air conditioning on all the way from the station but, on the journey over, nothing had cooled His sleeves were rolled up, his top button undone, but the car was still stifling. Even in the middle of the night, under cover of darkness, the heat continued to cling on....." And so we ask...who is Healy and why is he out in the middle of a hot and sultry English summer night?
There are no wasted words in Vanished every page is readable and exciting drawing you in and inviting you to stay. The central character in all Weaver's books is David Raker an ex journalist who now uses his inquisitive skills hiring himself out as a kind of private detective to search for those individuals who have disappeared, desperately sought by loved ones who really only want to know why? Julia Wren hires Raker to find her husband Sam who disappeared some months ago, took an early morning London tube ride and was never seen again. Layer by layer, like the peeling of an onion, the twists and turns of this excellent thriller proceed at a terrific pace. The London underground/railway is used to great effect for the action scenes; the police are searching for The Snatcher and as his name suggests he removes his victims with stealth and cunning, is there any connection between this killer and the disappearance of Sam Wren? In the final chapters just when we the reader thought the killer had been successfully identified there is a Hadley Chase moment and a "totally unexpected plot twist." My favourite character and one who demands greatest sympathy is ex London met detective Colm Healy, he was one of the Met's best detectives - until the unsolved murders of a mother and her twin daughters consumed his career, his family and his life. Healy's world finally collapses when his own daughter Leanne disappears, soon to be the subject of a murder enquiry. Raker and Healy have a tenuous relationship and one can never be sure if the broken and distraught detective will finally succumb to suicidal thoughts.
As an ardent reviewer and keen blogger I awarded this book with four stars simply because the early David Raker lacked a little of the oomph, vitality and sparkle of later adventures (What remains;David Raker 6 and Broken Heart;David Raker 7 are exceptional) Tim Weaver is an extraordinary talent whose love of writing and his wonderful storytelling ability is beyond reproach and I look forward with great anticipation the new Raker adventure due for release at the end of July 2017.