Friday, February 1, 2013

"Vanished" by Irene Hannon

I really liked this book quite well for the first 257 pages.  And then, on page 258, the main character decided to do something so brainless that I lost all respect for her, and felt we could never be friends.  It wasn't something wrong, just stupid, but I actually set the novel aside for a day or so because I was so disgusted.  I'll get back to that in a minute.

Vanished is about a newspaper reporter, Moira Harrison, who gets lost while driving in a thunderstorm, hits a pedestrian, and then the pedestrian vanishes very mysteriously.  Moira hires private investigators to find out what happened, and finds herself very attracted to one of the investigators.

I did like several things about this book.  I liked how naturally the characters' faith was integrated into their lives -- no one came off as preachy or artificial.  The plot was intriguing.  And the characters were, on the whole, likable and believable.  The dialog was fine, except for the occasional tendency to weasel background information into a conversation that might have been better left to the narrator.  

But then the author drained Moira Harrison of all intelligence and common sense and sent her barreling into obvious danger.  And I'm afraid I found that to be all-too-convenient, a way of furthering the plot that was totally out of synch with the character's previous behavior.  I started feeling like I was reading one of Kathy Reichs' early books, where the protagonist blithely waltzes into danger with both eyes deliberately closed.  And I realized that I really don't like stupid characters, especially when they're intelligent most of the time, but then do something glaringly nonsensical.  Sure, I understand that putting your protagonist in danger is an important part of a suspenseful story.  But plenty of writers, like Raymond Chandler and Robert Ludlum and Laurie R. King, manage to let their characters get in deep trouble without making them do something obviously dumb.

So anyway, perfectly acceptable book, but not one I'll read again. 

If This was a Movie it Would be Rated: PG-13 for scenes of suspense and violence.  No bad language, no risque scenes!

4 comments:

  1. Aw! Sorry you didn't wind up really liking it. For me, this was definitely one of Irene's best. :)

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    Replies
    1. I've read several glowing reviews of it, which is why I read it. And clearly, this is a personal reaction, not necessarily a flaw in the book, because lots of people have liked it a lot. I just happen to be annoyed by willful stupidity, that's just a me thing. I hope I made that clear! I would be willing to read another book by Irene Hannon again, she seems like a good author.

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    2. She is an excellent author, Hamlette. :)

      As a writer, I get the climax involving the heroine being kidnapped but as a reader, it wears thin - because it happens EVERY time. For me, that was the greatest flaw.

      Hope you enjoy some of her other books! :)

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    3. As a writer, if a device wears thin... it's not a good device anymore. If it bugs your readers, it's bad.

      So anyway, I'll see if I can find another of her books -- any suggestions?

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