Without A Trace
by Mary Torjussen is a compelling mystery and psychological
thriller involving relationships. The themes of loss, secrets,
and betrayal are powerfully explored. Obsession, losing one's
self-worth, and wondering what happened in a partner's disappearance
makes the story very suspenseful.
forum where people discuss their problems influenced the author.
“I read of one woman’s post where she came home
from work and saw her boyfriend had left, taking almost everything
with him. I wanted to write about these cowardly partners
who end a relationship without any explanation, not even a
note or text. Then I thought how technology aids by allowing
someone to block and delete the other person. How cruel and
horrible to just cut it off. How many of us would be like
Hannah, unable to rest until we know what happened?”
The main character, Hannah, returns from a daylong conference
only to find her boyfriend, Matt, has disappeared without
a trace. Worse yet, all his possessions were also gone as
if he never existed in the first place. Erased are all of
his email conversations and text messages with Hannah, and
he does not seem to have any presence on the Internet.
She devotes her life to finding him or at least what happened
with the help of her supposed best friend Katie and her former
boyfriend James. Being preoccupied with this task affects
her work and attitude. She is missing deadlines, looking haggard,
and becoming short-tempered. What became a certainty is that
someone appeared to be watching her every move, making strange
phone calls and text messages. As she becomes a shell of herself
readers want to shake her and have her take Katie’s
advice to just move on.
With these new social norms “Dear John” letters
of the past seem like a kind way of ending a relationship.
Although the story was written only from the perspective of
Hannah, an unreliable narrator, it almost had to be scripted
that way because of all the plot twists. The second half of
the book was definitely jaw dropping and readers’ emotions
would range from sympathy to hate as the plot progresses.
The author noted, "How well do we really know someone.
If they did something spiteful or malicious would they reveal
it to their intimate partner? Hannah kept the secret of her
abusive father. There is this saying, ‘Street Angel,
House Devil.' On the outside, he was charming, successful,
and handsome. Yet, at home things were completely different
where he became evil."
the current and future books have a plot that deals with the
characters’ obsession, jealousy, hatred, and secret
betrayals. Anyone who enjoys reading about believable relationships
will relish this plotline, including the dark conclusion of
Gone Without A Trace.