This review is of the paperback book "The Man Who Disappeared" by Clare Morrall, the author's third novel.
The basic plot of the book revolves around the Kendall family, a husband, Felix who is a partner in an accountancy company, his wife, Kate, and their three children. On her return from Canada, Kate is informed that Felix has been accused of money laundering and has disappeared.
Without giving the main plot of the book away, Kate is left alone to look after her family, and finds that times are hard. She has to leave her comfortable house and move into a council flat, which is considerably less comfortable for her and her family.
The book then recounts the stories of Felix and Kate as they live their new lives, each unsure as to what the future holds, and what their respective roles in life now are.
I won't give more of the plot away, so I'll move to how I found the book, and I was to be honest not enormously impressed. The book is an ideal summer read, as it is very readable, and the author has an ability to make the words flow and to develop a story.
However, I found that the story line itself is in places rather far-fetched and bizarre, and in other places, quite predictable and falls into the trap of being rather stereotypical. I felt that at times the author had numerous life points she wanted to make, which detracted from the plot and didn't sit well.
The character development of Kate and Felix I thought though was very strong, and it was easy to develop an interest in their characters, and I found them very believable. Other characters in the book I found rather less convincing, and a little lacking in dimension and depth.
The book did though have the advantage of allowing some self-reflection, and readers can easily imagine how difficult their own lives would be if something of this magnitude happened within the family unit. Combined with the easy to read nature of the book, this made the book interesting to me.
Quite where the author was taking this book wasn't clear in places, was it meant to be a thriller, was it a look at the family role, or just a commentary on life today? It was marketed as a thriller, and I didn't feel that this was necessarily a very accurate description of the book.
The paperback version of this book was published by Sceptre Books of London in June 2010, and the ISBN is 9780340994290. The book retails new for 7.99 pounds, but at the time of writing can be purchased new from Amazon for just 3.99 pounds including postage. If you're happy with a second hand copy of the book, at the moment, these are available from sites such as eBay and Amazon for around three pounds including postage.
Overall, this was an interesting and easy to read book, but I found it a disappointment. Some characters I felt weren't developed enough, the story-line didn't fit right in my mind and it all became a little predictable and drab. I was unsure of where the author was trying to take the book, and although it's not a bad read, I wouldn't recommend it.