To create a believable detective story, an author has to have a thorough knowledge of police work, imagination, and to master the art of storytelling. And yes, it also takes literary talent to develop a plot that entertains and at the same time terrifies a reader. Some novels are based on true stories, but most, as their authors claim, are just fantasy creation. A true story is seldom as much engrossing, but a few of them are no less fascinating than the best novels in this genre. However, it takes a specific talent to tell these stories in a way that makes us glued to them, impatient to know what happens on the next page. One of such works is Vanished by Jon Wells.
One of Jon’s specialties is crime reporting. In this capacity he knows a lot about police structures, laws, rules and regulations, and judicial procedures. He begins the story with the scene that seemingly is the end of it, as the link between the crime and its perpetrator is quite obvious. A dismembered body is found in the house of a known criminal. The suspect’s violent resistance during arrest, his desperate attempts to kill himself, all pointed out that the investigation just needs to tie up a few loose ends. End of the story, right? Far from it!
To close the case, the investigation must present a clear evidence of guilt. There were, however, many missing pieces of the puzzle. As Jon states, “If they never found the rest of the body, the smallest trace of the victim’s presence might make or break the case.” The relentless search for the missing body parts, and other evidences of the crime, had begun.
During the house search detectives noticed a small library of murder books about the most notorious Canadian killers. This was a significant hint to alert the police. Was there a serial killer? If so, there would be more than one crime to look for.
In the process of investigation, while facts and related material accumulate, the mosaic of monstrous crimes unfolds. It is hard to believe that it is not a product of inflamed imagination, but a true story, supported by documents, interviews, reports, physical evidence, and even photographs.
Vanished is not just a story of investigation, its complexity, and the reconstruction of a criminal act. It is also a story of a tragedy much larger than the crime itself.
Wells gives short biographies of the victims, which explain how illegal drugs push them to the horrific end. At the same token the biography of the criminal explains how narcotics create monsters whose atrocities a human mind can not comprehend. As the author said about one of the victims: “Maggie lived a life that could bring her in contact with very bad people.” It did, and the price of it was her life.
In Vanished, you will learn a lot about the job of police officers and investigators; you will find out, how stressful, often physiologically unbearable it could be, and how crucial its role in protecting our society from the ills of humanity. But the oddity is that “…the justice system sets the bar high, putting the police work on trial as much as the perpetrator.”
The story of Vanished demonstrates that the tragedy of crime spreads the misery and grief far beyond victims and criminals. It makes large, bleeding, never healing wounds in the souls of the victim’s and the criminal’s relatives: their children, parents, grandparents and more distant relatives. But, paradoxically, Vanished is not only a thought-provoking story, but a highly entertaining beach read.[amazon asin=0470155493&template=iframe image]