Roland Ford walks alone as the world implodes around him.
“Then She Vanished” unfolds as a first person narrative by Roland Ford, a private investigator who finds things other people cannot. He lives in Fallbrook, California, the avocado capital of the world. Parker creates a frantic story of anger and violence in an age of chaos, complete with a hotly contested political election, bomb threats, a missing woman, and the pitfalls and complications of a legal cannabis operation. All this would make a great typical thriller, but this story has something more; this story has Roland Ford.
Roland Ford is far from a typical PI. Despite the title “Then She vanished,” this is Ford’s story, and he tells it in a blunt, unhurried, way. He is faded and frayed by his experiences in war, but he can take care of himself and does not let anyone or anything stand in his way. He frequently pauses to reflect on his past and to plan his strategy, and of course to remember Justine. He is methodical and logical, not wasting time yet not wanting to miss anything. Supporting characters are complex and unique, but Ford stands, and stands alone, amidst the surrounding chaos like a movie hero, focused, walking tall and unhurried through the fire while the world implodes around him.
“Then She Vanished” has nonstop action on every page. There is a touch of humor amidst the chaos as one of Ford’s “irregulars,” tenants on his farm, reveals her predictions for the future, but she can only see ahead three weeks at a time. Ford names his truck “Vivian,” prompting readers to wonder just who Vivian might have been. I received a copy of “Then She Vanished” from T Jefferson Parker and Penguin Publishing. Parker leaves readers with thoughts of the goodness of our world and the people in it, the comfort of kindness and respect, the hope that comes from belief that the next day can be better and the day after that better still. And in the end, there is always dancing.