Vanish: CSFF Blog Tour

Over dinner recently my cousins and I got into a discussion about why anyone would read a book twice. One declared that she has never done so: “You read books to find out what happens, and once you know what happens, there’s no point in reading it again.”

Others disagreed, including me, and the whole discussion fed into another discussion I’d been having with myself all week — what makes a book a classic? What exactly does “literary” mean? I would definitely classify some of the CSFF authors I’ve reviewed as literary, notably George Bryan Polivka and Jeffrey Overstreet. And I would certainly read their work more than once.

VanishOne thing I do not believe is that all books serve the same purpose and should follow the same rules. When this month’s novel for review arrived in the mail, all misty and mysterious (it has a really cool cover), I pounced on it, mentally overjoyed, and exclaimed “Popcorn!” I was busy and tired and really didn’t want a book I had to think about. Thrillers do provoke some thought, but not the exhausting literary kind. They are best at inspiring adrenaline spikes and obsessive page-turning, but they don’t generally require much from their readers.

To some degree my first impression was right. Vanish was fun to read, light despite its heavy themes, with lots of spiky moments and pages with such wide margins and large print that I had no trouble reading it on the way to and from performances, and at other generally exhausting moments. Pawlik’s Web site says it pretty well: “If you love edge-of-your-seat thrillers with a healthy dose of the weird, the creepy, and the unknown, then jump in and hang on.”

I finished it, dissected it in conversation with my cousin, and told myself that I had been correct. This was a book that one reads to find out what happens. Now that I know, I’m not likely to read it again. The characters serve the plot rather than driving it. Vanish, I told myself, is the epitome of the stand-alone supernatural thriller. The sort of book you read once, enjoy fleetingly, and can’t imagine a sequel to.

Then the CSFF e-mail came in, and blow me down, I found out that Vanish has a sequel. Valley of the Shadow was released in May. So to some degree, I was wrong — this book is not a stand-alone, and its themes may turn out to be more enduring than popcorn. Suddenly I’m very intrigued.

Tomorrow, a proper review. Wednesday — well, I haven’t decided what I’m going to write on Wednesday. For now, check out the author’s Web site:

Both books on Amazon:


Valley of the Shadow

And finally, a last piece of trivia: Vanish won first place in the 2006 Operation First Novel contest sponsored by Tyndale and the Christian Writers Guild.

For some reason that makes perfect sense to me.

See what the rest of the CSFF tour bloggers have to say:

Brandon Barr
Justin Boyer
Keanan Brand
Grace Bridges
Karri Compton
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Alex Field
Beth Goddard
Todd Michael Greene
Ryan Heart
Christopher Hopper
Joleen Howell
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Eve Nielsen
John W. Otte
John Ottinger
Donita K. Paul
Epic Rat
Steve Rice
Crista Richey
Hanna Sandvig
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Speculative Faith
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler






7 responses to “Vanish: CSFF Blog Tour”

  1. […] on the tour. I especially recommend you take a look at Rachel Starr Thomson’s three posts: day 1, day 2, and day 3. Keanan Brand also has three excellent articles posted here, here, and […]

  2. […] ? ? ? Nissa ? ? ? John W. Otte ? ? ? Steve Rice ? ? ? Chawna Schroeder ? ? ? Rachel Starr Thomson ? ? ? Steve Trower ? ? ? Fred […]

  3. Beth Goddard Avatar

    I was stunned, too, when I heard there is a sequel. How could there possibly be a sequel? I mean, this is the end of the story, right? And still, I can’t imagine. In fact, I’m wondering if a sequel would ruin it for me. LOL

  4. Keanan Brand Avatar
    Keanan Brand

    My review copy didn’t arrive, so I ran to the bookstore for a last-minute purchase, not sure if I could fit the book into my schedule. Once I started reading it– Schedule? What schedule? I was totally into the story.

    I’m one of those people who, if I like a book or a movie, will revisit it at least once. If I really, really like it, I might read it many times. I’m not sure if that’s the case with Vanish, but I just might.

  5. pixy Avatar

    It seems like this one has a little more depth than your average CBA “thriller” but it still takes you on a fun ride. I’m curious to read the review!

    I think I would read a book again even if I knew the ending and felt I was satisfied. I would want to know how the author did it. Sometimes I think reading a book again isn’t so much about entertainment as it is about picking it apart a little more and learning from the writer.

  6. […] Richey ? Chawna Schroeder James Somers Speculative Faith Stephanie Not on the original list ? Rachel Starr Thomson Robert Treskillard ? Steve Trower ? Fred Warren ? Phyllis Wheeler […]

  7. Rebecca LuElla Miller Avatar

    Popcorn! Ha! I hadn’t thought in those terms. Generally I’m not a suspense fan, but this one had me intrigued. And yes, I did read mostly to see what would happen. But the characters mattered, and I wanted them to matter more, sooner. But I’ll put that in my review.

    I already know what my day three post will be, but it requires spoilers.


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