Vanish by Tess Gerritsen

This is the first book I have read by this author, but it is only the beginning. She is my kind of mystery author, dishes out suspense to the end. This is a scary story on so many levels and sadly it is also disturbingly familiar, we read about it all too often in our back yard. Vulnerable young girls are lured into the United States with promises of jobs and a better life.

They are drugged, raped, imprisoned, beaten and ultimately sold into prostitution. The book is one girl’s story from a small town in Eastern Europe of how she was lured into the United States under false pretences and the title is chillingly appropriate.

This is part of a series about Detective Jane Rizolli and Medical Examiner Maura Isles but speaking as someone who hasn’t read anything else in the series, it can stand on its own.

You get a few references but not enough to make you feel like you are missing out. Detective Jane Rizolli is nine months pregnant, baby is overdue and held hostage by a strange woman and Maura Isles gets a body that is still alive on her table, and this is at the beginning of the book.

The pace is fast, the story is intense and the characters are real. For me this was a story I needed to get closer to. You know how you usually see a story on the news about human trafficking and you feel bad for the girls and move on as soon as an advert comes on. This book may be fiction but it gives names to those girls whose feet (covered up faces) we see in the headlines. The way it is told, as one girl’s story is sheer brilliance.

I found this to be a story of the human spirit, and how you can keep moving forward even when there doesn’t seem to be much to keep you going.

There is a part of the book when one of the characters speaks about how people around her keep dying, I was so moved by that – The literal meaning of how such a thing can happen to a person who is not in the middle of a war or anything and the hanging question of how do you keep going day after day if there isn’t much to look forward to, is suicide an acceptable option? Do you keep going? Why? How?

Suffice it to say that the story made me think. I cannot explain much more because I really do not want to spoil this for anyone, it is really a good read.

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