Zoe Whittaker is living a charmed life. She is the beautiful young wife to handsome, charming Wall Street tycoon Henry Whittaker. She is a member of Manhattan’s social elite. She is on the board of one of the city’s most prestigious philanthropic organizations. She has a perfect Tribeca penthouse in the city and a gorgeous lake house in the country. The finest wine, the most up-to-date fashion, and the most luxurious vacations are all at her fingertips.
What no one knows is that five years ago, Zoe’s life was in danger. Back then, Zoe wasn’t Zoe at all. Now her secrets are coming back to haunt her. As the past and present collide, Zoe must decide who she can trust before she—whoever she is—vanishes completely.
The Vanishing Year combines the classic sophistication of Ruth Rendell and A.S.A. Harrison with the thoroughly modern flair of Jessica Knoll. Told from the point-of-view of a heroine who is as relatable as she is enigmatic, The Vanishing Year is an unforgettable new novel by a rising star of the genre.
Three and a half stars: An exciting thriller with some terrific twists, but it is slow going in the beginning.
Zoe is adjusting to her new, rich and glamorous life. She is even almost to the point where she has stopped looking over her shoulder, waiting for her past to catch up with her. Almost. Just when she thinks everything is perfect, her wonderful husband starts acting more and more moody. Then when her apartment is vandalized, Zoe can no longer hide. She knows she must reveal her secrets and confront her past or risk losing everything. Will her rich and powerful husband still love her once he finds out about her sordid mistakes or will Zoe lose everything?
What I Liked:
- The Vanishing Year is one of those thrillers that takes its sweet time building and building before it explodes with numerous shocking revelations. This is a story about a woman who seems to finally have it all: wealth, glamour, loving husband, peace and security, and then she doesn't. This is a story about what happens when you try to run from your past and it ends up catching up with you. If you like thrillers with plenty of exciting surprises and twists, this is one to try, but you must be patient.
- I appreciated that I was never quite able to figure out where this story was going. The author plants lots of red herrings along the way, before slapping you with some startling reveals. I liked the twists, and I liked that I wasn't able to piece it all together. I had some ideas, but I didn't have it all correct. It's always great when you read a thriller that manages to surprise you.
- I liked that this book was thick with suspense. The reader is left with an unsettling feeling from the beginning, even when everything seems to be wonderful with Zoe's life and marriage, there is a strong under current that it's not. As the story progresses, things begin to unravel, and you are scrambling to figure out who is out to get Zoe.
- The ending is one shock after another, delivered in quick, successive blows. It was a whirlwind, and I loved the way it all concluded. Almost everything is answered, no lingering questions or cliffhangers.
And The Not So Much:
- This book comes in at 304 pages, and even though it is short, it still dragged. The first half is spent introducing characters, exploring Zoe's past and planting red herrings. I was restless, waiting for something to happen. It finally starts to gather momentum when it hits the halfway point, and then the final few chapters are stunning. This is definitely a book that requires patience.
- As I mentioned, the beginning is all about planting red herrings. I didn't find any of them to be particularly believable. I think it is because I have read so many thrillers, and I know that the obvious is never the answer.
- This is a minor niggle point, but in the beginning, Zoe's cover seems to be blown when she runs into someone from her past. I was expecting some depth and development with this story line, especially since it resurfaces later in the book, but nothing happens with it. I am not sure why it was included.
The Vanishing Year is a good, solid thriller that delivers with a startling conclusion after some shocking reveals. I liked the suspense and the surprises with this one, but I struggled with the slow pace and the planting of red herrings that I didn't find believable. Still this was an entertaining read, and if you are a fan of thrillers this is a good one to try when you want something short and suspenseful.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.