*I received a free ARC of this book, with thanks to NetGalley and Penguin UK – Michael Joseph. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: At Halloween, the residents of Black Gale gather for a dinner party. As the only nine people living there, they’ve become close friends as well as neighbours.
They eat, drink and laugh. They play games and take photographs. But those photographs will be the last record of any of them.
Because by the next morning, the whole village has vanished.
With no bodies, no evidence and no clues, the mystery of what happened at Black Gale remains unsolved two and a half years on. But then the families of the missing turn to investigator David Raker – and their obsession becomes his.
What secrets were the neighbours keeping from their families – and from each other?
Were they really everything they seemed to be?
And is Raker looking for nine missing people – or nine dead bodies?
No One Home is my first Tim Weaver book, but is actually the tenth book in his David Raker series and I would suggest starting with an earlier one if you are a newcomer to the books like me. There is clearly a large amount of family backstory around Raker and his sort-of assistant Healy, which is not strictly relevant to the plot at hand, but leaves the reader feeling a bit out of the loop as to the history of their relationship and how they have ended up where they are now.
The plot itself stands alone and I was instantly gripped by the idea of a kind of Marie Celeste village with no clue as to the whereabouts of the families involved. Raker’s experience with missing people is fascinating and you get a real insight into the kind of methods and techniques that can be used in his line of work.
Similarly it is interesting following the parallel (albeit set in a different time) unfolding of Jo Kader in LA, chasing her serial killer. Her struggles as a woman in a male environment, and her dedication to both family and career added an emotional depth to the story, and I really enjoyed trying to work out where the two threads would finally converge.
I would have really liked to see more of the personal element in Raker’s side of the investigation (himself and the victims), as I felt that his narrative felt a little dry and repetitive, as he haunted the empty houses and quietly followed paper/electronic trails. The original tension of the disappearance had pretty much dissipated by the time the sedate and orderly search suddenly exploded into climactic action. The ending was then packed full of excitement but felt oddly confusing and unemotional, leaving me feeling a bit flat about the final reveals.
Whilst this was an interesting suspense thriller, I don’t think it made the best introduction to Tim Weaver’s writing or David Raker’s career, so I would recommend starting with an earlier book in the series if you haven’t already.
‘I just don’t understand what happened to them,’ Ross said.
For a moment, as I looked at him, he was perfectly framed, his parents’ house behind him, the grass too long out front, weeds running rampant, the dark windows giving just a hint of the empty hallways within. He told me over the phone that he’d been trying to keep the house together, the lawn mowed, the rooms tidy, but it was hard when even the process of unlocking the front door hurt. His parents had been gone two and a half years, with no answers and no trace.
But they weren’t the only ones.
– Tim Weaver, No One Home
No One Home releases on Amazon on 16th May 2019 – preorder it here!