Michael Joseph | 2019 (16 May) | 528p | Review copy | Buy the book
One Halloween night, over two years ago, the four households of the tiny Yorkshire village of Black Gale come together for a party. They’re the best of friends, a tight community of neighbours. But that night all nine of them vanish into thin air, not to be seen again. The trail has gone cold and the police abandoned their search long ago. But the families of the vanished want answers and they take their case to private missing persons investigator David Raker. Raker has his own problems to deal with, and they’re getting very pressing indeed, with the wrong people on his trail. But this could be the diversion he needs, not least because it will allow him to go missing himself for a short while. Nothing, though, could have prepared Raker for what he will discover.
No One Home is the tenth novel in the David Raker series but it’s also, I’m ashamed to say, the first I’ve read. This is one of those series that I’ve had my eye on but haven’t had the time to go back and start from the beginning. I’m one of those readers that waits for a book to come along that will throw me into the series and from that point on, having been hooked, I can go back to the beginning. No One Home is just such a book. I loved the premise – the entire small village disappearing one night, never to be seen again, and at Halloween, too. Irresistible. And so I thoroughly enjoyed the book as a stand alone. It is true, though, that there’s a lot going on in Raker’s life that I couldn’t possibly fully follow. But there was more than enough information for this not to matter too much, although I think that if you’ve read the series in full, you’ll get more from it. Nevertheless, No One Home is a very enjoyable, gripping and twisty thriller in its own right.
The narrative is divided between Raker’s own point of view and that of Jolene Kader, one of the first homicide detectives in LA who was faced with a dead body dissolving in acid back in the 1980s. This is a brilliant storyline that carries on throughout the novel and certainly does a good job of competing with the Raker storyline for our attention. I enjoyed this thread at least as much and particularly liked the way in which Tim Weaver handles the sexism and inequality that Jolene faced every single day. I cared very much for her and looked forward to her sections of the book.
As for the missing neighbours, this is a fantastic story and for much of the novel I could not see how on Earth this could possibly be solved. I felt completely in the dark and could hardly put the book down as I waited to see what would happen next. This is engrossing stuff. It’s a dark book and there’s evil in some of the characters we meet. At times the tension and the oppression of this evil was a little too much. This is one of those books that grips you but you have to put your head up for air every so often. I love that kind of book that immerses the reader so deeply in its world.
The final published edition has corrected some of the structural problems of the proof, I’m pleased to say, although this might not solve my main issue, which is the way in which one character is treated. As a result, No Way Home isn’t a perfect book, although I think its first half does a very good job of approaching that, but it grabbed my attention and I look forward to reading more.