Top positive review
Reviewed in the United States on August 22, 2020
T. Jefferson Parker's new Roland Ford novel is a worthy addition to the series. Here, Roland is hired by a local politician to find his wife. Bi-polar and something of a spendthrift, the wife has either walked away into the desert or been kidnapped. The politician is an ex-marine, like Roland, and Roland agrees to search for her. At the same time a terrorist group that calls itself the Chaos Committee is sending mail bombs to public officials and inciting the public to kill police officers and anyone else who is handy. The question is, is the disappearance of the woman, Natalie Strait, related to the actions of the terrorists?
Roland's investigation is a linear, straightforward one, not unlike those of the other Parker's Spenser, investigations in which the PI 'goes around and asks people questions.' This is not a thriller, not an action/adventure and not really a mystery, per se, though we are anxious to see the final results of Roland's investigation and have a number of our own questions answered.
The setting is north San Diego, in general the Fallbrook area, where Jeff Parker lives, and his representations of it are always spot-on. Roland's 'irregulars', the renters on his farm/ranch return and Roland himself finds some romantic action with one of his employer's relatives, a now-legal cannabis farmer/marketer who is falling afoul of one of the Mexican cartels.
My friend and fellow mystery writer, the late Frank McConnell, used to say that we read books like Chandler's for a single line, the line that encompasses all of the experience and pain and wisdom that constitute the story. Hence, we look for great one-liners as one of the hallmarks of the genre. Here I counted six. Here is one:
"Nothing is slower than time.
"Or louder than silence" (p. 264).
And how's this for description—
"A long silence as the invisible weights of blame and forgiveness shifted on their invisible pulleys" (p. 187).
Jeff Parker is a modern master who makes everything look easy. That is so very hard to do. THEN SHE VANISHED is as smooth as a mountain lake and sometimes just as deep.