Vanished by Carter Quinn
Length: 98 pages (novella)
Genre: m/m romantic suspense
Rating: 5 Stars
**Just a reminder, I do not run a review blog. I just review books occasionally for fun, so please don’t send requests.**
One thing you should know about me is that I almost never read novellas or shorts—I just read too fast so they tend to leave me wanting. However, I’m convinced Carter Quinn writes with a golden pen, so I read everything from him.
A quick overview: Henry Cooley has been with Tom MacKinnon for nearly twenty-one years, they’ve been married for six and are still madly in love. While they’re somewhat unsatisfied with their jobs, they have a great life, loving their college-age son and happy in the city they live in.
And then one day, Henry wakes up and Tom is just gone. At first he plays it off like maybe he pulled an all-nighter at work but after another day passes, Henry starts to freak out. He calls his best friend Shaun who comes over to help him piece things together. They reach out to a cop friend who helps them put together a missing persons report.
Henry is convinced that Tom’s parents, who have never liked him, may know something about Tom that he doesn’t. Even if they don’t, he has to tell them what’s happened. So he and Shaun set off on a trip to Tom’s family’s vineyard to pay a visit to the ‘wicked in-laws.’
And I’m going to stop right there, as it would be rude to tell you any more secrets. It is a suspense story after all.
There are two main things that I loved about Vanished, besides the general great writing and witty banter between the characters. The first is the fact that it’s not about being gay. I’m kind of a book whore, so there are very few tropes that I don’t like, but you’ll rarely find an m/m book that doesn’t have something to do with being in the closet or coming out or the day-to-day struggles of being gay in the world. Don’t get me wrong because I love those books and I even write those books sometimes. But other than Tom’s parents never getting on board with Tom being in a relationship with a man, the guys being gay isn’t really a big issue in the story.
Henry and Tom adopted their son CJ and then were able to marry in the small window of time that gay marriage was legalized in California, and then they adopted their son CJ. Their relationship isn’t a struggle, it just is. What happens to them in the book doesn’t happen to them because they’re gay—just like with any other couple in the world, stuff happens just because. This was a refreshing change for me because it’s something that I haven’t read a lot of.
The second thing I like about this book is that it isn’t a romance. Wha? Why do I like that? Because I’m clearly a romance junky, just look at my shelves. Well, I didn’t say it wasn’t about love. Henry and Tom’s love is at the forefront of this story, especially with Henry’s tireless efforts to find. Most romances are written about a first meeting, a moment when a couple first falls in love, a happily ever after. But Vanished is about real love—real tried and true love that has stood the test of time.
Life is a collection of important moments strung together by time. Carter Quinn offers us glimpses of those moments between Henry and Tom, scattered throughout Henry’s search for his husband. It’s beautiful and heartbreaking and hopeful and tragic all in one. This is one emotional story, guys. I’m a super emotional person too, so I cried buckets—both at the happy parts and the sad parts.
So be prepared for all the feels and the messed up make-up, but it is definitely so worth it! Definitely a recommended read.