Wednesday 8 February 2023

Book Review – Vanished (Faith Black FBI Case Files) by Jade Madden

By Jade Madden

An FBI Agent. A missing hiker. And a secret to die for...

FBI Agent Faith Black was damn good at her job.

But considering the events of her last case, she is lucky to still have her badge.

Her latest assignment lands her in a sleepy backwoods town where people are disappearing.

She’s less than enthused.

She partners with the local sheriff who's desperate for answers. They agree that their only option is to retrace the footsteps of a college grad who recently vanished while hiking.

Together they scour the hiking trail over 87 miles through the thick mountain forest. They can't shake the eerie feeling they are not alone.

Whatever was lurking in the shadows wants them gone.

And nothing could have prepared them for what they find.

It was a secret that the ominous forest has been hiding.

A secret only the dead knew...

Vanished is the prequel to the Faith Black FBI Crime Files series; it can be read as a standalone.

Disclaimer: This book is for mature audiences and contains mild profanity and violence.

Grab a copy HERE!

June Robinson was eager to get going on her hike, but a downpour on the second day, and a chill that settles in her bones, slows her down. She finds her seven day timeframe destroyed as she grows sick, and has a difficult decision to make – does she press on, even through she barely has any energy, or does she try to turn back, even through the way back would be difficult. Without cell service, June is stuck by herself.

FBI agent Faith Black is lucky to still have a job after a mistake she made on a previous case, so she can’t complain too much when she is assigned a missing person’s case in a quiet town. The town has had multiple missing people reported, but none of the cases have yet to be solved. The most recent is a young girl, June Robinson, who was last heard from when she called her parents at the beginning of a hiking trail, before she inevitably lost cell service. Teaming up with the town’s Sheriff, James Hollow, Faith heads into the woods to retrace June’s path in the hopes of finding her alive and well.

I have an immense love for short stories, but there is one problem when it comes to writing reviews – there’s always so much I want to talk about, but I can’t because it’ll give away too much of the plot! There is so much packed into this book, with Faith trying to solve a mystery that the reader already knows the truth behind. I have always found crime/mystery books creepier when there is the perspective of both the victim and the law enforcement, because you know the dangers that the law enforcement characters are in, even when it doesn’t seem to them that they are in any trouble. There are certainly moments in this book when I was scared for Faith and James’ lives, and they had no idea about how concerned they should really be.

This book is not without some gore, but everything that happened, no matter how much it might make me cringe at the mental images, added immensely to the story and depiction of the characters. I felt like I thoroughly understood all the characters, not just the good guys. The author has done a wonderful job at adding backstory to everything, without overwhelming the reader in such a short amount of time. Every single character is perfectly fleshed out, and they all seem incredibly real, even though the realness of certain characters will creep you out.

This is only the prequel of a series, but it is more than enough to get you hooked on the characters. I can’t wait to read more about Faith, and her cases. The length of the book, along with the pacing, almost makes it feel like the first episode in a very binge-worthy television series – as soon as you finish episode one, you immediately want to click through to episode two. Except, this is a prequel, and book one isn’t out yet. You must wait for the next instalment, but it is a series to bookmark, so you can immerse yourself in the next part as soon as it is available! 

Faith is a wonderful character, who I connected with immediately. The reasons she has been assigned to this particular case, and what exactly went wrong before, are revealed slowly throughout the story, so you have time to get to know who she really is before you judge her on past mistakes. Even through she feels a missing persons case is beneath what she should be doing, that doesn’t mean she is any less dedicated to the case than any higher profile case she might’ve been assigned to. Finding June is her number one priority, and she puts her all into it. I really enjoyed following her, and definitely look forward to joining her again in future books.

This is an excellent start to a series that promises to be just as gripping, exciting, and well developed as this first book. I read this book in one sitting, in just over an hour. It is well and truly unputdownable. 

Jade Madden lives in Minnesota with her husband and dogs. When she's not writing, she loves to travel, long-distance hiking, camping, gardening, clean eating, learning about and living a healthy lifestyle, bushcraft, herbalism, and staying fit.

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Mary Anne xxx