The premise of Gone Without A Trace is interesting, a British woman returns from an out-of-town job interview to find that her boyfriend of four years not only left her with no warning but actually removed every trace of him from her house. Wine glasses left to him from a relative, his duvet cover, the tv he bought when it moved in (after subletting his London apartment), paintings off of the wall are all missing and replaced with what she had before he moved in–her old clunky tv was moved out of the guest bedroom and back into the living room, her old quilt and sheets are on the bed, her food and dishware is rearranged to make it look as though nothing is missing. Even odder, his contact info is gone from her phone, their text messages erased, emails to and from him are gone from her account, photos of him removed from her Facebook account and he seems to have deleted his social media accounts. She has no way to get in touch with him; who knows phone numbers these days? She eventually gets his cell number from a friend of her’s boyfriend but the number is no longer in use. She calls his job and he had quit a week before. She remembers his landline number to his London place and calls that and his subletter picks up.
She says that nothing had happened that made her think he was going to break up with her, she is gobsmacked. The only thing that stood out to me as being super unbelievable was that she never talked to her boyfriend during her short trip away or texted him. You’d think you might text to say you arrived safely or are headed home and then she’d realize all of the info was missing from her phone–it must have been removed before she left, I don’t see how he could have done it remotely. I can see maybe not talking to him but not communicating at all nor checking Facebook seems a bit farfetched for 2017. Plus she had gone out of town for a super important job interview. No good luck pep talk? I do know things are different in the UK (after all in apparently 2013 she was dialing him on his landline so where was her cell phone then??) but she is a youngish person (early-mid ’30s) so you’d think she’d check in. Although, I do know from watching British shows that cell plans seem very different and more expensive than ours so maybe that this part of it? Saving minutes and texts?
Anyway, she decides to start trying to track him down to see what happened. She goes to his mother’s house, she has moved, he quit his job etc. Meanwhile, someone is periodically going to her house and moving things around. She thinks its the boyfriend but that doesn’t make much sense.
Unfortunately, after what I felt was a promising premise and good start, the book started to go downhill. It was pretty clear she was an unreliable narrator but one never really understands why she is–she had a traumatic childhood but that doesn’t really explain why she does what she does fully and this part doesn’t seem fleshed out.
Disappointing because I loved the set up–I still think it would make a good start for a movie or British-style miniseries but the book really dragged during the middle and the end seemed hurried and slightly nonsensical. The subplot about her work went on for too long and went nowhere as well.
Check out my frequently updated “read” list here. I’ve had a bit of dry spell this week–tons of books out but nothing is grabbing me.