Vanished (Mason Callahan #1)

AudiobookReview

When an eleven-year-old is abducted on her way to school, the FBI doesn’t waste a moment, sending agents to scour the area and embedding Special Agent Ava McLane with the distraught family. In the eye of the storm is local detective Mason Callahan, whose life is crumbling to pieces?he’s related to the victim, and his longtime confidential informant has just been murdered.

Both he and Agent McLane hole up in the victim’s family home. Every second counts in a kidnapping case, and the stakes keep rising the longer the girl is missing. As Ava and Mason struggle to hold the family together in their darkest hour, the two investigators find themselves drawn to each other.

Mason Callahan, a Detective with the Oregon State Police, is working with the FBI’s Special Agent Ava McLane in a chilling case of child abduction. The child in question is the step daughter of Mason’s ex wife. It was very interesting to learn how the FBI react to and treat child abduction. It’s given top priority and their CARD (Child Abduction Rapid Deployment) Team are immediately sent out to assist the local police force with their expertise in this most emotional and terrifying crime.

Running alongside and interwoven is the brutal murder of Josie, Mason’s confidential informant. Those two combined factors make this mystery/thriller lean more towards the psychological and as Mason’s life quickly spirals out of control he realises someone has it in for him…but he doesn’t know who or why.

Mason and Ava are both dedicated and committed to their respective jobs and I like that their personal story doesn’t overshadow and take over the main focus of the story. There’s quite a large cast of characters who are all given enough consideration to make them real and substantial. Mason and Ava have depth and the character development is so good, it’s impossible not to like, and be drawn to, them. Mason intrigued me with his cowboy hat and boots and the emotions he kept in well in check.

Under that ‘by the book’ cowboy was a gentleman with a big heart

The suspense and tensions are played out skillfully, an intricate, involved and very conceivable storyline kept me absorbed and entertained throughout. The writing expresses perfectly the drama, sadness and feelings of utter helplessness and the emotional content is powerful. The past and present are interwoven culminating in a tense and moving finale. I couldn’t help but be a little sorry for the culprit and his sad life.

A solid, well researched story. I look forward to Mason Callahan #2

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KElliotKendra Elliot grew up in the lush Pacific Northwest and still lives there with her husband, three daughters, two cats, and a Pomeranian. She’s fascinated with forensics, refuses to eat anything green, and loves a strong Mai Tai on the beach on Kauai.

More Than This

AudiobookReview

  • 17870216Author: Patrick Ness
  • Performed by Nick Podehl
  • Released: by Candlewick on Brilliance Audio, November 2013
  • Category: Young Adult, Sci-Fi
  • four-half-stars

A boy drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments. He dies.

Then he wakes, naked and bruised and thirsty, but alive.

How can this be? And what is this strange deserted place?

As he struggles to understand what is happening, the boy dares to hope. Might this not be the end? Might there be more to this life, or perhaps this afterlife?

Seth wakes up not knowing where he is or how he got there. He can’t remember anything…except dying. That, he does remember. But he couldn’t have died, could he? He was here, wasn’t he?

The opening pages are so descriptively graphic and yet leave room for doubt as to what actually happened. Things get quite frightening for Seth as he realises how familiar, and yet at the same time, different, this place is. It seems deserted, almost post apocalyptic. The terrible feeling of aloneness and the devastation around him are penned in such a way as to be tangible.

 ...it’s also a world that only seems to have him in it, so how real can it be? If this is just a dusty old memory that he’s trapped in, maybe it isn’t really even a place at all, maybe it’s just what happens when your final dying seconds turn into an eternity.

The so very sad flashbacks of Seth’s memories piece together the events that lead to his ‘death’, if that’s what it was. His relationships with his parents, his brother, Gudmund and his friends capture the uncertainty and confusion of youth.

Everything in this world in which he finds himself is always on the edge of unknown, what’s real or not real. As the story unfolds Seth finds he’s not alone after all, there’s Regine and Tomasz, great characters who have also have stories to tell. Their search for answers, of which there are no easy ones, and trying make sense of where they are and how they got there leads them into unprecedented and bizarre situations. Then they begin to discover the shocking truth. There’s lots of action, mystery, suspense and a very ominous antagonist they have to deal with, several times.

The story is challenging in the extreme, it’s intense, dark, sad but at the core is hope, and I felt like I was being pulled one way, thrown back and pulled in a completely different direction again and again. It’s imagination running riot and running through is the premise that whatever is going on there must be More Than This. It raises some questions about life, relationships, of how they’re dealt with and the consequences of the decisions made. There are so many layers in this book and it leaves a lasting impression.

Haven’t you ever felt like there has to be more? Like there’s more out there somewhere, just beyond your grasp, if only you could get to it…

And the ending…….thought-provoking and ambiguous. The writing is amazing and the story so well crafted and totally gripping.

Nick Podehl did an impressive job bringing the story to life and giving the characters their individual voices and personalities.

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