Good As Gone by Amy Gentry is a page-turner mystery about a parent’s worst nightmare; the disappearance of a child. Anna Davalos and her husband Tom did not discover that their daughter Julie disappeared overnight from their home; they discovered their other daughter Jane hiding in a closet crying and terrified. Jane had witnessed the abduction three hours earlier and was in a state of shock. Anna learned later that the three-hour time frame was important, and that Julie might never be found. Eight years went by, Julie remained missing, Jane was in an estranged rebellious relationship with her parents in reaction to the abduction, husband Tom had quit his job and worked from home using Julie’s office as his office, and Jane plodded through an academic career which would never progress due to her lack of academic engagement. Then Julie showed up on their front doorstep. Where had she been for eight years?
This is a novel of relationships that swing back and forth between polar extremes in response to events that are out-of-control by any single character. Julie’s abduction had shattered a close-knit family. Anna had never totally approved Tom’s employment change as he brooded over Julie’s disappearance while working from her former bedroom. Tom co-existed with his wife while indulging Jane’s whims without reference to his wife’s wishes. Jane began as a rebellious teenager while in high school and had chosen a university as far away from home as possible. Her attendance and performance at school were a mystery to Anna. She occasionally returned home to visit Dad and frustrate Anna. After eight years this type of relationship should have settled into some sort of stable normality. Julie’s reappearance did not repair the previous relationship; it sent the pendulum of change speeding back in the opposite direction. As all characters pursued efforts to discover what took place during the eight-year “empty” period, Julie strenuously opposed all their investigations. Her truths would not be their truths.
These opposing objectives require the reader to pay careful attention to character names. Gentry will reveal Julie’s past lives in the missing years in a reverse chronological order beginning from Julie’s reappearance at the Davalos household. Julie in captivity had gone through several involuntary identity changes to avoid detection by law enforcement. Each of those identity changes is a story that will captivate and propel the reader through a fast one-session read. It is difficult to put the novel down when Julie turns into Gretchen, or Violet, or Mercy, or Starr, or Charlotte, or any number of temporary, interim identities. What was behind all these identity changes? How did the changes affect the Davalos family?
This story has a lot of victims. Or a few victims with lots of identities. Julie might be any number of other people. Anna has the help of an ex-detective to help her find out Julie’s true story. Or at least help Anna find the remains of the real Julie. Characters in this novel are very well-developed as they tell their pieces of the story. There are stories of the kindness of homeless people who are motivated to help each other. There are deviant church leaders who deceive willing followers. Two characters stand above all others in the complexity of development; Anna and Julie.
This psychological suspense thriller sells for USD 9.99 on Amazon or it is free to read on Kindle unlimited. I chose the second alternative. This one novel alone is the price of the KU subscription. Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans
I gave this five Amazon stars and highly recommend it. It has all the psychological suspense promised. Sexual content is, logically, frequently implied but a graphic depiction of sex will come from the reader’s imagination. The same holds true for violence. This novel will be disturbing for the overly sensitive in its depiction of pedophilia.
The writing is very good.