All good things must come to end, either by death or dispute. The maturity is accepting that people leave, friendships end, love vanishes and life goes on with empty feelings, sad smiles, and a broken soul.
This is something I am coming to terms with recently, owing to two of my best friends walking away from our thirty-five-year friendship over my refusal to accept their relationship with a convicted sex offender. This month’s second book review is a thriller, also about a group of people who also mysteriously walk out of their lives, it’s called “Gone” by Leona Deakin and is published by Black Swan (https://www.penguin.co.uk/company/publishers/transworld/black-swan.html) as an ebook on the 19th August and in paperback on the 3rd October.
When four people go missing from various parts of the UK on their birthdays after receiving cards from an anonymous source, daring them to partake in a game, the police don’t suspect anything. These people went voluntarily and are playing a game. But then the daughter of one of the missing persons contacts her neighbour’s brother Marcus Jameson, an ex MI6 Agent, and his partner Dr Augusta Bloom, a Psychologist, who together run a private investigation company dealing with unusual cases.
At first, they think it just four random disappearances across a couple of months, then with the help of the police, they discover there are over a hundred people missing supposedly playing this game. When one of the missing then returns home and brutally murders her husband in front of their young kids, Jameson and Bloom suspect there could be some sort of terrorist motive behind the game. As well as that, Bloom has realised all the missing share psychopathic personalities and that they are being singled out for this reason. But to what end? As their investigation digs deeper, Bloom and Jameson discover that they are now part of the game and are forced to take part in it. With psychopaths in all walks of life, is there anyone they can really trust? Can they stop this twisted game and find the mastermind behind it, and discover for what purpose is it being run, before another member of the public or one of their family or friends is hurt?
As well as the sense of loss running through my life in the past couple of weeks, I’ve also had to read this month’s choice for my book group, which was the Booker Prize winner Milkman. Well, I’m very glad that Gone came through my door, because compared to Milkman (I threw it down after twenty pages), the telephone directory was looking very appealing!
Deakin’s book on the other hand, is a sleep depriving, white knuckle ride from the first page to the dramatic conclusion at the end, that left me with a crick in my neck too.
The plotting is superb and the edginess of the story and the multitude of dark and sinister possibilities for why these people are targeted and then used is the biggest hook and the reason it’s an out and out page turner. When the two main characters started getting paranoid of people in public, I was so into this book, I too felt the need to look over my shoulder and became wary of people on public transport and in the street.
Deakin’s two main characters our straight out of the Mulder and Scully school of teamwork and interaction. There is a perfect chemistry of brains and brawn, Jameson is almost bond-esque, without the gadgets, while Bloom does all her fighting with her scalpel sharp mind. This book is similar to Val McDermaid’s Wire in the Blood which inspired the TV series of the same name and also in the same vain as The Cracker series starring Robbie Coltraine, as they both centre around the work of a criminal psychologist. But I felt Gone had a fifth gear as a result of its pace and the numerous possible threats to its protagonists along with the far-reaching consequences to the wider population. My hope is that Deakin can keep this is edge of your seat pace going forward into the next book.
It’s been a number of years since a decent crime series involving a criminal psychologist has stepped out of the shadows on to our book shelves and in this book we have the beginning of what could be a cracker (excuse the pun) of a series, written by a professional in the field. However, the public interest hasn’t waned, judging by the success of Netflix’s new Mindhunter series. The level of detail in the book and the facts about those with this type of personality, speaks volumes about the authors expertise and allows you to be drawn deeper into this immersive and completely engrossing story.
This is English Author and occupational psychologist Leona Deakin’s (@leonadeakin1)
second book. Her first one was a romantic thriller called Anomaly published in 2013, but didn’t feature Bloom or Jameson. She has previously been a psychologist with West Yorkshire Police and lives in Leeds with her family.
This is undoubtedly up there as one of the best thrillers I’ve read this year and we are still in August, I am really looking forward to seeing if it becomes a series featuring these two characters or at least reading her next book.
So download it now as an e-book, or I dare you to put and order in with your local bookshop before they’re Gone…
Reviewed by Adrian Murphy
This review is part of a Random Things Blog Tour, to see what the other reviewers thought of it go to their blogs sites listed below. If after reading this or any of the reviews you go out and get a copy, comeback and tell us what you thought, we’d love to hear your feedback.