And Then You Were Gone by R. J. Jacobs
Crooked Lane Books: 3/13/19
eBook review copy; 288 pages
And Then You Were Gone by R. J. 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.
My review copy was courtesy of Crooked Lane Books.