The Disappeared

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
December 2009
12 hours 10 minutes
Two young British students, Nazim Jamal and Rafi Hassan, vanish without a trace. The police write them off as runaways, but seven years later, Nazim's grief stricken mother is still unconvinced. Jenny Cooper is finally settling into her role as Coroner for the Severn Valley; the ghosts of her past banished to the sidelines once more. But as an inquest into Nazim's disappearance gets underway, the stink of corruption and conspiracy becomes clear. As the pressure from above increases, a code of silence is imposed and events begin to spiral out of control, pushing Jenny to the breaking point. For how could she have known that by unravelling the mysteries of the disappeared, she would begin to unearth her own buried secrets?
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Marie Raven

Detailed, but I wish it was more cohesive. There was a lot going on, many different threads to the book, but instead of feeling like the story steadily wove them together I got the impression that the author dropped one to go to another, then remembered he'd better go back and at least mention that other thing so you didn't forget. The effect robs the book of tension and inevitability, and while I was mildly curious how things were going to work out, it wasn't quite the driving need to know that such fraught events should have produced. The characters were relatively well differentiated, but Jenny's agency is consistently undermined by her own problems and everyone around her which gives the distasteful, if unintentional, effect of the male characters in the story bulldogging around and the female characters largely being cowed into following instructions. Toward the end of the book, she does manage to take better control and begin directing events with more authority (both within herself and the plot), but details were scattered enough at that point that this didn't feel like a realistic evolution of the character toward revelation, but more like the author changing tack with the tool he created. All in all, I think there are a lot of very worthwhile parts of this book, but the execution felt rushed to me.

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