Written by Books

Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas

A mystery about secrets and families set in the West Country.

It seems like an open and shut case. Heather has been seen walking into a house and killing a man and his mother, before attempting to take her own life. Now she lies in a coma.

Jess was once Heather’s best friend although something happened to their relationship and they drifted apart after Heather’s sister Flora disappeared. She’s now a journalist on the local paper, trying to rebuild her career that was nearly derailed by a scandal that saw her depart a London paper.

With her unique knowledge of the family at the centre of this crime, what is Jess willing and not willing to do – either to further her career or to discover what has actually happened?

This is the first book by Claire Douglas that I’ve read, and she skilfully weaves a tale that incorporates teen friendships and relationships, against a contemporary backdrop of media intrusion into the lives of victims. There’s plenty going on here. Is Jess being stalked? How is her rival at the local daily getting the inside scoop on a story that should be hers? And just what actually happened that summer of 1994 that seems to have lead inexorably to what’s happened today?

All in all, this is perfect summer reading.

Thanks to Michael Joseph, Penguin and Netgalley for the ARC. Then She Vanishes is out in paperback this week.