Then You Were Gone
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But I have to admit, it keeps me up very late - I desperately want to know what's going on with each character. And boy, oh boy, does Jacobs ever keep the tension high. Every chapter seems to end on a cliffhanger or a revelation. And you just have to keep turning pages! The who and why become clearer as the book progresses and more is revealed, but it didn't detract from my enjoyment of the book.
Paolo is an epidemiologist.
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They decide to take a weekend vacation on a rental boat. Paolo is an experienced boat captain and swimmer. Emily cannot swim.
See a Problem?
She takes anti-anxiety medicine for her fear of water. She is also bipolar. Emily and Paolo anchor the boat in a remote part of the lake and drink a couple bottles of wine. The next morning Emily is hungover and Paolo is nowhere to be found. Soon, Emily is the number one suspect. I love the flawed character of Emily. Her anxiety and bipolar diagnosis are innovative and elevate the plot. Her drunken blackout the night of the disappearance makes her an unreliable narrator.
And Then You Were Gone is highly recommended for fans of psychological thrillers looking for something different. It is a twisty ride! Jacobs is a highly recommended novel of mystery and suspense. Emily Firestone is taking a weekend sailing trip with her boyfriend Paolo. Emily has her bi-polar disorder under control and, although she's panicked over being out on the boat in the lake because she can't swim, she feels like she can keep her panic at bay. Paolo is a strong swimmer and an experienced sailor. He has assured her she will be safe and they will have a lovely weekend.
After dinner and drinks on the boat the night before, Emily awakens the next morning on the boat, Paolo is gone, she has a horrible headache, and the boat is drifting around the lake. Emily manages to get back to shore, report Paolo as missing. What could have happened to him? When evidence begins to suggest that something more sinister is afoot and Paolo's disappearance may be due to foul play, Emily begins to forget her meds and is moving into a manic state - or is she just naturally concerned?
The more she discovers, the more erratic her behavior becomes. The more erratic she becomes, the less she sleeps. Soon she is high on the police's list of suspects. Emily is an unreliable narrator and trusting what she thinks she knows and believes can be a struggle at times because you don't know what her state of mind is - especially since she mentions frequently as the novel progresses that she's forgot her meds, isn't eating, and she's not sleeping.
All of these factors make her incredibly unreliable and untrustworthy as a protagonist. Adding to the mix are other characters who either begin to doubt Emily or are suspicious themselves. While the plot will hold your interest and moves quickly, the narrative flow in this novel can be a bit bumpy at times.
Part of this is due to Emily's state, and part to an inconsistency in the narrative. Events do start to collate into some semblance of a timeline, but questions still remain about why Emily is allowed so much freedom to move about considering she's a suspect. If you set aside any little niggling questions about certain details which could have been handled in final editing this is an enjoyable mystery with an exciting climax.
Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Crooked Lane Books. I just had to know what happened! I read the entire book in two sittings. If you are thinking of reading this and you should stop reading reviews right now! This book is best gone into with no preconceived notions about what you are going to read and spoilers would ruin half the fun! I think you will be surprised at the direction the mystery takes.
The main character Emily is presented as a classic unreliable narrator with her bipolar disorder that may or may not be under control with medication. Her condition seemed to throw doubt on her competence with the police but I rarely found her unbalanced.
Then You Were Gone – book review
It must be awful always having people doubting your opinions and memories solely due to a mental illness. The story took a turn in direction I was not expecting and I quite liked where it went. It surprised me and I was intrigued when it turned out to be about something much bigger and scarier than I was expecting. We got little teases of it as the story progressed but at some point things turned dark real quick! I really enjoyed this thriller and it literally rarely left my hands until I was done.
Book Review: ‘And Then You Were Gone’ By R.J. Jacobs Asks The Question What Happened To Paolo?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago Actually just 2. Her boyfriend is a good swimmer and experienced with boats and water. They make a night of it, sleeping on board the boat drinking a lot of wine.
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When she wakes up the morning after he is missing, and understandably, she is panicked. Where is he? Why can't she remember what happened the night before? What does she do now? How does she get help? That part of the story got my attention. I was looking forward to a good thriller The plot took some interesting twists, but it was slow getting to them.
I liked the protagonists determination to get at the truth, even though she struggled through her bipolar disorder to find it. The alliance with her boyfriends best friend, a former military ops guy, was also interesting, and he helps her get some answers.
That part was good. When she was racing the clock with her friends child in the car, my heart-rate revved up a notch or two. Putting a child in harm's way will do that to me. Not a bad read. Darren Young.
Until You Were Gone (The Chainsmokers and Tritonal song) - Wikipedia
Charlotte Wood. Jane Harper. Oscar Wilde.