Format: Audiobook (BorrowBox)
Read: January 2024
This is my eighth Lisa Jewell novel. I read and reviewed five last year, and early DNF’d two others. I think I did start with her best one (The Night She Disappeared) and nothing has quite lived up to that, with the others I’ve read since being very hit or miss. They did all at the very least have a reliably well crafted narrative and a pace that kept me interested, even if I wasn’t loving the story, and there were always a least a few twists and turns to keep me on me toes.
I found those elements lacking in Then She Was Gone. The entire plot felt like something I had heard before. I am positive this must be a Law & Order: SVU episode but I don’t have the tools or memory to figure out which one! The whole novel played out exactly as I predicted. I could see from part one how this was going to go and I was very disappointed that there was not a single “twist” I’d not seen coming from a mile off.
The deftly crafted narrative wasn’t there, which felt off for a Lisa Jewell mystery. The “twists” were too heavily signposted, the characters were unengaging and either felt lifeless or too over-the-top to be believable, and the way they acted often didn’t ring true. The structure was strange and jumped all over the place in the time line. I really didn’t like the insertion of chapters from Noelle, and right towards the end Floyd. I didn’t feel like they added anything, I’d rather some real evidence was discovered that would explain motives, rather then have them awkwardly interrupting the flow for what – since I read this via audiobook – was like a talking head in a documentary, out of nowhere.
I found it both far-fetched and entirely predictable, which made it boring to listen to. I kept going in the desperate hope there might be a twist I had not seen coming but that was never the case! In the last third I found myself counting the minutes to the end.
Also, what is it with Lisa Jewell and all her mother characters having clearly a favoured golden child, at the expense of any other children? If I was one of her kids I’d be getting a complex over it!
- I finished it, it was an easy enough listen on audio.
I DIDN’T LIKE
- The entire plot was predictable from very early on, and felt like something I’d heard before.
- At the same time it felt very far fetched.
- I didn’t find any of the characters particularly engaging, and often their actions didn’t feel realistic.
- I was wishing it would end for most of the third part, once I realised the twists were all ones I’d foreseen in part one!