I came across this book while browsing in my “local” Christian bookshop in Canberra.
The author has written many books, most of them seem to be romance novels, but several lean more to mystery and crime, or as the author describes them “romantic suspense”.
The latter titles belong to a few different series of stories such as “Heroes of Quantico”, “Guardians of Justice”, “Men of Valor”, Code of Honor” and “Private Justice”.
Vanished is the first of the “Private Justice” series.
I’ll confess that the other series titles don’t really appeal to me.
“Private Justice” seemed to have a more down to earth sound to it than the almost super hero sounding labels of the others.
Vanished launches straight into the action, with reporter Moira Harrison suffering a car accident during a late night storm. She crashes after trying to avoid a woman who appeared on the road in front of her.
A man seems to come to her aid, promising to call emergency services and to attend to the possibly injured woman somewhere out on the road. The reporter passes out, and when she regains consciousness it is clear that the apparent good Samaritan didn’t fulfil his promise.
No one believes her story about the woman she is sure she ran into, or the man who failed to help.
How does she find the truth and bring it to light?
She enlists the help of private investigator Cal Burke, a former homicide detective. Not surprisingly, considering the “romantic suspense” genre, a growing attraction between the two develops.
While the writing style and the authorial voice didn’t personally appeal, the story itself was compelling enough to help me enjoy the book.
Not surprisingly, considering this is a book by a Christian writer, sold in a Christian bookshop, belief in God plays a significant part in the lives of the major characters. Each of them has their own faith struggles and the ways they resolve those struggles is not always beneficial to them or those around them. It becomes clear that religious belief, and even devotion, can be a destructive force if its foundations are faulty, but can be a vital help when based on something legitimate.
One interesting dilemma I found within the story was the extent to which characters could justify their actions by appealing to a sense of greater good, or the pursuit of justice. The bending of truth is portrayed as an acceptable necessity in the case of the “good guys”, because their actions are in the name of pursuing justice. But in reality I have a problem accepting their end justifies the means outlook is any more acceptable than the same kind of mindset applied to the “villain” of the story.
More about the author and her books here: