Thursday, 20 August 2015

Guest Book Review: Claire Moss - Then You Were Gone

Reviewed by Emma Crowley

Could you leave the one you love?

Mack was that guy, the one who had it all. The looks, the charm and that twinkle in his clear blue eyes. Yet, after those first few moments of meeting him, Simone just knew he was the one. Four days ago, Mack told Simone he loved her – and then disappeared without a trace.

Now Simone is forced to question everything she ever knew about Mack – and whether it was all a lie. Determined to find him before the trail goes cold, she’ll do anything to uncover the truth. But how do you find someone who doesn’t want to be found?

And what if his secret is best left buried…

Amazon link: Kindle 

Then You Were Gone by Claire Moss is not a thriller or a who done it more a why did they do it? It begs the question how well do we really know people bar what they have told us? Do we take people too much on face value instead of scratching deeper beneath the surface to find more in-depth answers? Our main protagonist Simone needs the answers to all these questions and more after her partner Mack goes missing. He hasn’t called or sent a text nor turned up for work. The last message Simone received from him ended in I love you which sets alarm bells ringing. They have never said this to each other before so why say it in a text? Straight away I felt Simone was over reacting, she came across as a real worrier and someone who crumbles under the slightest pressure. In fact I would go as far to say she is slightly neurotic. So big deal Mack hasn’t been in contact for a few days maybe he needed a break or had some things to do. But when Jazzy (a work colleague of Mack’s and a very close friend of Simone’s) receives a letter saying Mack has had to go away and not to worry that he is doing this for the safety of everyone then I realised Simone’s fears were justified. Even though Mack says don’t try to find me it will only make things worse that’s the first thing Simone does. I didn’t blame her one bit for ignoring Mack’s wishes. Sure don’t all women at some stage or maybe quite often go ahead and do what we are not supposed to do-blatantly ignoring directions or wishes. I’d love to say what followed was full of twist and turns and a rollercoaster of emotions. Sadly this wasn’t the case as it just all became a bit too methodic and there wasn’t the thrill of the reveal as it was obvious enough what had happened to Mack.

What follows is Simone taking time away from her restoration work to search for Mack going from his mum Sheila to old friends Dan and Melissa and further up to the north of the country. It just seemed a bit too routine to me. Back in London Jazzy is doing his best to piece together subtle hints. Working for Keith he believes the business he is involved in has had something to do with Mack leaving. But does it? Anna (Somalian born but now living in London) cleans the office occupied by Mack and Jazzy. Can she help in discovering the truth despite her young age. Anna by far was my favourite character, I know she was meant to be minor but she came to the fore when needed. She was rational and level headed and was able to get more out of a situation than Jazzy ever could. The intimidation and threats that are littered throughout the book were well written but never made me really concerned for the characters overall safety or well being.

Simone presented herself as hard, cold and aloof. Subtle hints are dropped which allude to a past that has made her the way she is. When this history is revealed I had the utmost of sympathy for her and understood why she is reluctant to fully commit to Mack. But she had been attempting to open up more and is stunned when he disappears ’Simone had allowed some of the frost inside her to thaw, had allowed herself to believe that this man, that the life she might have with this man, might be worth laying herself open to pain and heartbreak for’ You would question why Simone goes to so much trouble to locate Mack and uncover the truth considering she has stated she is cold and never gives into love. But the fact she is searching suggests to the reader she feels Mack is someone special and there could be a long term future for them. Simone is willing to break open the shell she has constructed around herself and let love in. That is if she can find Mack and solve whatever issue he has.

It is remarkable how Claire Moss builds up such an interesting and detailed picture of Mack as the story unfolds. Considering we never hear directly from him for the majority of the book, I felt I began to know him although we do not glean the full facts behind his disappearance for quite some time. For the first half I was compelled to keep reading to uncover the truth just like Simone, Jazzy and Anna. But then at around the 40% mark I began to question was the author giving away too much too soon in the chapters told from a girls point of view? Did this aspect reveal too much? Was the reader able to guess the ending through reading about this mysterious girl? Well I figured it out quite easily, admittedly not the exact details but I had flashes or moments of the truth although I couldn’t piece it all together. For me the book then lost that intense, edge of your seat feeling which leads up to the big reveal. There wasn’t that jaw dropping moment a superb book should provide and was the reason for his disappearance justified or just that bit over the top?

Claire Moss has loads of potential but the book didn’t deliver for me. I had such high hopes for it upon reading the blurb and I would like to be able to say I loved this book but it was an average read that needed more of a mysterious, suspense element. It all became a bit too much like join the dots as Simone goes from place to place searching and Jazzy and Anna do their bit back in London. I hate guessing too early what is going on and this is what happened here and therefore I lost interest. As the crux of the matter was revealed too early I felt the author was filling in pages for the last 10% or so and then it suddenly ended and the last 12% of the book was chapters from the authors other release. If you want a really easy guess what happened kind of read this is it but diehard fans of crime/thrillers will need to look a little further afield for their latest fix.

I'd like to thank Emma for reviewing Then You Were Gone which we received from the publisher via NetGalley.  

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