#Bookreview – Vanished by Mark Bierman

Book reviews

What Amazon says

Tragedy . . . heartache . . . how much more can Tyler Montgomery and John Webster take? This missions trip, the “healing” one, has only added fresh layers of pain. Construction of an orphanage in Haiti’s northwest . . . yes. But a doomed rescue operation, human traffickers, human anomalies, extreme personal danger . . . risk of death? They hadn’t signed up for those.
Turning their backs on the crisis, however, is unthinkable, it’s just not who they are.

My review

This is a book about child trafficking, in this particular case, in Haiti, post the destructive earthquake of 2010. This topic is not a new one, but I thought the execution of this story was rather unique in its demonstration of the impact that child trafficking has on all the people involved, from the victims to their families, relationships between the abducted children, older people who have been in slavery most of their lives and external people who aim to rescue a particular child or children, if possible.

John and Tyler are two Americans who have come to Haiti as part of the volunteer relief programme post the earthquake. John is Tyler’s deceased young wife’s father and they have both come to Haiti seeking to exercise the demons resulting from Joy’s death from pancreatic cancer. When the seven-year old daughter, Chantale, of the housekeeper where they are staying is abducted by child traffickers, they become embroiled in trying to find the child. It becomes a burning obsession for Tyler who believes it will help eradicate some of the guilt and pain he feels about his wife’s death.

I liked the characters of both John and Tyler, they felt very real and came across as really nice and caring men. The one aspect relating to both of them that really stuck out for me is how real their behaviour and decisions were in this book. They both made some decisions that were impulsive and ill advised and they paid the price by ending up in difficult situations. There were no unlikely sets of circumstances that gave them an easy out of their self induced problems and their struggles were reasonable and gave the story a ring of reality and authenticity.

The conflict in the personality of supporting character, Janjak, also had a ring of truth. Janjak lived a hard life and has been in prison. He was most fortunate to escape prison with his life when the earthquake occurred and many of the prisoners died in their underground jail. Janjak needs money and is prepared to rob the privileged Americans, John and Tyler, but he is not prepared to commit murder. He also has a good heart and is grieved by the surge of child trafficking in his country and its surrounds. His pity for the children leads him to eventually helping John and Tyler on their mission to save Chantale.

There are a couple of side stories running through the book, including the story of a fifteen year old girl who has been in slavery for many years and manages to escape with a friend and is on the run. The circumstances surrounding the wife of the psychotic ring-leader of the child traffickers, who is herself an abducted child and is a slave to her husband and a social worker, called Violine, who tries to help John and Tyler with their mission and who has all sorts of unknown relationships.

This is a fast paced book, full of action and excitement, but with a heart rending underlying theme.

Purchase Vanished by Mark Bierman

72 thoughts on “#Bookreview – Vanished by Mark Bierman

      1. I think it has always been there, Mark, it has just come into the public domain a lot more recently. It is a good thing this horrendous trade in human lives is being exposed. I am sure the research was heart breaking and I think you toned it down to an extent for this book.

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      2. You’re right, Roberta. It has always been there but it has come more to light in the last few years. I intentionally left out any rape, pedophelia, and gore in this novel. It was however, written to make people think.

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  1. Human trafficking is an agonising topic but one that should be openly spoken about in the hope that more notice is taken of it. This sounds just that sort of book. Good luck with it Mark.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Robbie, excellent review. I just finished this one myself and will be sharing my review next Tuesday on my blog. Mark tackled a difficult and tragic subject. So many of the characters really shine through, especially in some of those side stories you mentioned.. Like you said, a fast-paced read, with a heart-rending theme.

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  3. Great review, Robbie! I usually shy away from reading about this subject, but I did read this book and felt it was well done.

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    1. Hi Debby, Mark has handled the violence well and in most cases he has suggested it rather than including the graphic detail in the book. There are only a few scenes with more detail and I didn’t find it overwhelming. For me the emotional disturbance was in the whole idea and Mark’s descriptions of a mother’s anguish – unbearable.

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  4. I read this book last year and it affected me on a deep level. I know it is fiction, and yet it doesn’t seem like fiction, if that makes sense. Great review for a great book that made my Top Ten List for 2019!

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  5. It is very sad that people and children are seen as a commodity by many in this world. A great review of a book on a horrifice trade which I am not sure I could read without feeling much angst at a world where this still happpens. X

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