Watch Her Vanish by Ellery Kane

Published: October 9th, 2020
Publisher: Bookouture
Format: Paperback, Kindle
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Psychological Fiction, Crime Fiction, Noir Fiction, Hardboiled, Police Procedural, Medical Thriller, Romance Novel

Welcome to my stop on the tour for this gripping thriller. Thank you to Bookouture for the invitation to take part and the gifted eBook ARC.

SYNOPSIS:

The beam from the lighthouse slices through the dawn sky as she runs down the rocky stairway to the beach. She tries to take it all inthe waves crashing against the cliffs, the whip of salt grass in the windbefore finally dragging her eyes down to the innocent girl’s blonde hair, strewn across the bottom step like seaweed…

Returning home to Fog Harbor, California, to be closer to her little sister, Olivia Rockwell is struggling to adjust to life in a town so small she can hardly breathe. That is, until the sound of a scream leads her to the body of a local teacher in the shallows nearby. All the evidence points to Olivia’s most threatening criminal psychology patient, Drake, who is safely locked up behind bars…

Convinced of Drake’s innocence—and desperate to believe in the system that’s keeping her murderer father in prison and away from her sister—Olivia gets to work on her own suspect list. All her life she’s run towards trouble, but this time she’s treading on the toes of Detective Will Decker, whose past mistakes mean this case is his last chance to make amends.

Then a second woman’s body is discovered, strangled while out on an evening jog. The strip of blue material used to choke her implicates Drake once again, forcing Will to admit he needs Olivia’s special talent for understanding the minds of killers. It’s clear more innocent women will die if they don’t get one step ahead of the murders, and Olivia knows she will need her estranged father’s help to get close to Drake.

But when Olivia’s profile leads them to believe Drake could be masterminding murders from within the prison walls, a message written on a scrap of paper found in the latest victim’s car leads them to a terrifying realization: Olivia’s little sister will be next…

MY REVIEW:

“Trauma can stunt growth. Could change a sapling to a weed, a magnolia bush to oleander.”

Young mother Bonnie McMillan vanishes without a trace after a late night trip to the movie theatre. The residents of Fog Harbor are worried and hold a vigil praying for her safe return. But the event is shattered by a piercing scream and the discovery of Bonnie’s body outside the church. The murder rocks the community. 

Detective Will Decker is in charge of catching her killer and immediately finds himself clashing with Dr Olivia Rockwell, a psychologist who worked with Bonnie at Crescent Bay Prison. 

When the body of another woman is found, they fear they have a serial killer on their hands. With few clues and their only suspect a shadowy figure seen leaving the theatre at the same time as Bonnie, they face a race against the clock to find their killer before they strike again. 

Watch Her Vanish is the first book in a new crime series, which almost made me not ask to be on this tour as I read so many of them already. But the synopsis had me intrigued so I took a chance. I’m so glad I did. While the story follows some predictable tropes, overall this was a gripping, twisty, clever and surprising thriller that I couldn’t put down. 

Our dual protagonists have an instant dislike for each other, which I expected to turn into the predictable, but much loved, enemies-to-lovers trope. While they do feel differently by the end, it didn’t take quite the format or end with the outcome I was expecting, which I enjoyed. They were a great duo, with their sharp, barbed banter and reluctance to admit they work well together making them compelling to read. 

Like all great protagonists, they come with mysterious, dark and backstories that still haunt them which are slowly revealed. There is also a great cast of supporting characters that I both loved and loathed. But none that stood out as much as Drake Devere, a serial killer who is an inmate at the prison and a talented writer whose book written from behind bars has gained quite the cult following. He’s a manipulative and sinister character that will turn on you at the flick of a switch. When it seems the killer is bringing his novel to life it’s hard to know if he is involved or being set up like he claims. I’ll be honest; I could never decide. 

This exciting, fast-paced thriller is one I would recommend to anyone who enjoys the genre. I can’t wait to see what’s next for Olivia and Will in book two.

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

MEET THE AUTHOR:

Forensic psychologist by day, novelist by night, Ellery Kane has been writing–professionally and creatively–for as long as she can remember. Just like many of her main characters, Ellery loves to ask why, which is the reason she became a psychologist in the first place. Real life really is stranger than fiction, and Ellery’s writing is often inspired by her day job. Evaluating violent criminals and treating trauma victims, she has gained a unique perspective on the past and its indelible influence on the individual. And she’s heard her fair share of real life thrillers.

Ellery lives in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, a picturesque setting that provides the backdrop for many of her novels. If you don’t find Ellery interviewing murderers behind prison walls or pecking away at her latest novel, she is probably at the gym landing a solid jab-cross to a punching bag; riding bicycles with her special someone; or enjoying a movie the old-fashioned way–at the theater with popcorn and Milk Duds.

Ellery was previously selected as one of ten semifinalists in the MasterClass James Patterson Co-Author Competition, and she recently signed a three book deal with Bookouture for her new Rockwell and Decker mystery thriller series.

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