Skip to main content

The Vanishing of Katharina Linden by Helen Grant

The Vanishing of Katharina Linden is Helen Grant's debut novel; her follow up, The Glass Demon,  drops this month.  I had to get The Vanishing through Interlibrary Loan because it is not available in county.  It is a great book, was worth the wait, and I hope some library in county gets a copy sometime.  Scratch that--I hope more that somebody gets The Glass Demon in county because I also want to read that and will have to wait six months before I can request it through ILL otherwise (hint, hint).

The setting is small town Germany in 1999; the story is narrated by a girl many years after the events of the year she was ten years old.

Pia is like any other girl in her small hometown until her grandmother explodes in flames at the family's Advent dinner due to granny's overzealous use of hair spray in close proximity to an open flame.  After this happens the story of the ordeal in all its many false incarnations spreads like wildfire all over town and through school.  Pia becomes a social pariah that only the least popular kid in school, StinkStefan, dares to befriend.  Before long the two become inseparable .

During the village's Karneval parade, a girl Pia's age named Katharina Linden disappears without a trace.  Despite the town's thorough search not a clue comes to light as to the whereabouts of Katharina or her fate.  Meanwhile, Pia determines to find out what happened to Katharina.  Fueled by kindly Herr Schiller's fantastical tales of witches, curses and hauntings that plagued the town's history, Pia is convinced that some supernatural, fantastical being is to be blamed for Katharina's disappearance.

Katharina's disappearance mirrors the disappearances of other little girls from the town many decades prior.  The first disappearance resulted in the estrangement of two brothers.  What the town doesn't know until it is too late is that Katharina is only the first of several girls who will disappear that year, unwitting victims in a madman's plot to exact revenge for a decades old perceived betrayal.

A hair raising, heart pounding ending reveals a disturbing twist to the identity of the villain.  A page turner to the very end, this is one book that is hard to put down.  I highly recommend you request it the next time you visit the library.

--Reviewed by Ms. Angie

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Broken by Karin Slaughter

Before I begin the formal review there are a few things I need to get off my chest in the wake of finishing this book; I'll do so without giving away too many (or any) spoilers.
The OUTRAGE!: the identity of Detective Lena Adams' new beau; the low depths to which Grant County's interim chief has sunk and brought the police force down with him; agent Will Trent's wife, Angie's, sixth sense/nasty habit of reappearing in his life just when he's slipping away from her. Thank God for small miracles though because while Angie was certainly referred to during the book, the broad didn't make an appearance. One sign that I've become way too invested in these characters is that I'd like to employ John Connolly's odd pair of assassins, Louis and Angel, to contract out a hit on Angie; do you think Karin Slaughter and John Connolly could work out a special cross over?
Hallelujah: Dr. Sara Linton and agent Will Trent are both back. There is no hallelujah for…

Crow Lake by Mary Lawson

When the end came, it seemed to do so completely out of the blue, and it wasn't until long afterward that I was able to see that there was a chain of events leading up to it. Some of those events had nothing to do with us, the Morrisons, but were solely the concern of the Pyes, who lived on a farm about a mile away and were our nearest neighbors." from page seven
I must confess that it took me longer than it really needed to in order to finish the novel Crow Lake by Mary Lawson. The entire story is building up to the big catastrophe that forever destroys all the hopes and dreams the Morrison clan ever dared to hope and dream for its future. In the eyes of the narrator, it is even worse than the tragedy of the car crash that claimed both parents' lives one evening on the heels of some good news the family has received and celebrated. Now you can see why I dreaded getting to the end of a book that drips in foreboding like nobody's business. What can be a worse tra…

In The Woods by Tana French

"What I warn you to remember is that I am a detective. Our relationship with the truth is fundamental, but cracked, refracting confusingly like fragmented glass. It is the core of our careers, the endgame of every move we make, and we pursue it with strategies painstakingly constructed of lies ... and every variation on deception. The truth is the most desirable woman in the world and we are the most jealous lovers, reflexively denying anyone else the slightest glimpse of her. We betray her routinely ... This is my job ... What I am telling you, before you begin my story, is this--two things: I crave truth. And I lie." opening lines of In The Woods chapter 1, pages 3-4
In The Woods by Tana French, an Irish writer, is an extremely well-written and well-crafted mystery novel. The downside is that this is French's debut novel, and her website (located at http://www.tanafrench.com/) does not offer any insi…