When You Disappeared by John Marrs, published by Thomas & Mercer, @johnmarrs @AmazonPub #Blog #review

After reading What Lies Between Us, I rushed to buy another John Marrs book. When You Disappeared is a story that will leave you on the edge of your seat, but it will also leave you emotionally drained. Published in 2017, it still holds up as one of the finest pieces of psychological thriller writing. It will stay with you long after you’ve read the last page.


All she wanted was the truth, but she’ll wish she never found out.

When Catherine wakes up alone one morning, she thinks her husband has gone for a run before work. But Simon never makes it to the office. His running shoes are by the front door. Nothing is missing—except him.

Catherine knows Simon must be in trouble. He wouldn’t just leave her. He wouldn’t leave the children.

But Simon knows the truth—about why he left and what he’s done. He knows things about his marriage that it would kill Catherine to find out. The memories she holds onto are lies.

While Catherine faces a dark new reality at home, Simon’s halfway around the world, alive and thriving. He’s doing whatever it takes to stay one step ahead of the truth.

But he can’t hide forever, and when he reappears twenty-five years later, Catherine will finally learn who he is.

And wish she’d stayed in the dark.

  • Print Length: 349 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (July 13, 2017)
  • Publication Date: July 13, 2017
  • ASIN: B01MR4XQL6


I didn’t know what to expect when I read the description of this book, but I was gob-smacked by the unique way Marrs wove together two stories both present and past. I hated Simon from the beginning. Callous, narcissistic and driven to immense hatred by something that happened in the past, I was incensed by him abandoning his family. Why and what caused him to do such a despicable thing?

Twenty-five years ago, Catherine and her young children are abandoned by her husband. She is left to pick up the pieces and start all over again. But there is no body to bury and no closure, and as the in-laws begin to pick away at the marriage, and question if Catherine had any part in Simon’s disappearance, you feel her desperation and her loneliness. Instead of wallowing, she picks up the pieces and forges her own career while single-handedly bringing up her children. When you’re a single mother (like me) you know how hard this is. Marrs takes great care to show her failures and successes in a realistic and well-paced manner. I loved her story.

Meanwhile Simon contemplates ending his own life, and then decides instead to simply throw in the towel to a good career and marriage, and swan off to pastures new. He doesn’t look back. Much. His life takes on a grotesquely downward spiral as he travels abroad. A free spirit now, he has no direction, but there is a curiously OCD side to him, a strength of character that I found both fascinating and despicable. Each page brings you closer to finding out why Simon did what he did. You can’t help being completely invested in the characters because you know there is a huge chunk missing. We catch glimpses of a terrible mistake that had somehow impacted the relationship and brought it to its knees.

I did ask myself a question as I closed the book. What happened to the sons? The illnesses all round were sad, although I wondered if perhaps there were too many.

Although I felt terrible sadness for Simon’s story and his friendship with Doug, I wanted to stand up and scream. A life changing tragedy incurred by a simple lack of communication seemed so unnecessary, but when you consider why secrets weren’t divulged at that time, you can understand it more clearly. But the most unforgettable scene for me was the final admission. An innocent child which amounted to an act of unforgivable neglect. Yet Marrs still made me feel sorry for the villain when I shouldn’t have given a damn.

Trigger Alert: This is an unputdownable book for me, but the tragedy at the heart of it is so dark it may be a nightmare for some readers. Please read the reviews before diving in. Even so, I gave it a solid five stars because of the skillful formatting of the story and the twists and turns that leave you breathless.

What people are saying:

“A compelling dark read that gets you thinking.” 4/5, The Sun Newspaper.

“It’s crammed with twists and turns that’ll keep you guessing right until the very end.” 5/5 OK! Magazine.

“Looking for a thrilling read? Then look no further.” -TV Extra Magazine, Sunday Star Newspaper.

“A magnificent story, one that truly captivated from the start with its style and grace and ever so subtle disclosure of the ultimate history.” – littleebookreviews.com

“A story that left me on the edge of my seat. I couldn’t put it down. You simply must read this book for yourself.” – Book Lover’s Attic.

“The story is masterfully told … the book is one that will stay with the reader for a long time. It is an extremely impressive first novel.” – Online Book Club

“There are many jaw-dropping moments. If you pick up this book, expect to be shocked! This is a book that firmly deserves to be defined as a page-turner.” – Cleopatra Loves Books. –This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.

About the Author:

John MarrsJohn Marrs is an author and former journalist based in London and Northamptonshire. After spending his career interviewing celebrities from the worlds of television, film and music for numerous national newspapers and magazines, he is now a full-time author. What Lies Between Us is his seventh book. Follow him at http://www.johnmarrsauthor.co.uk, on Twitter @johnmarrs1, on Instagram @johnmarrs.author and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/johnmarrsauthor.

More Books by John Marrs

John Marrs books

A Warm Welcome to Author Rosalind Minett

Girl-Before-A-Mirror-By-Neil-Picasso (2)I’m very excited to welcome Rosalind Minett, author of A Relative Invasion.

Rosalind studied at Birmingham, Sussex and Exeter universities and enjoyed a career as a chartered psychologist. Her stories are always character-driven whether the genre is humour, historical or crime. She relishes quirkiness, and loves creating complex characters of all ages.

Rosalind lives in the South West and spends her time writing, sculpting and painting. Her writing blog is at http://characterfulwriter.com.

Rosalind has kindly provided us with a scene from her book below.

A Relative Invasion:

My favourite scene is not a happy one. In Book 2 of my trilogy, A Relative Invasion, Billy, then aged eight is evacuated and placed with a kindly elderly couple. His antagonist, the manipulative cousin Kenneth has plagued his life all through Book 1 and is billeted some miles away. But then his father, Billy’s bullying Uncle Frank, is killed by a London bomb and Kenneth is sent to stay with Billy for two days while the adults attend the funeral. Billy has no experience of death or bereavement and tries to comfort, not very successfully.

This scene is when the adults return after the funeral, together with a vicar with whom Billy’s mother and baby sister are billeted. In the front room things are incredibly tense, will poor Aunty cry? She has her arms around a limp Kenneth. He is desperate to find jobs in the kitchen, but is prevented. ‘You must stay in there with your family, dear.’

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All the chairs are circled round the vicar as he leads them in prayers. Stiff with embarrassment, Billy sits behind the vicar’s coat to be inconspicuous. He mishears the ‘groaning words’, Ohs and Los and beseech, as he struggles to make sense of them, and when he opens his eyes after the prayers, all is dreadfully black. (His view is blackened by the vicar’s large coat). The vicar stands and intones, but at that point Kenneth throws up and in the confusion of clearing it up, Billy makes his escape to another room. When, later, he is called upon to come back, his father announces that he will honour his brother by accepting Kenneth as a second son. He invites Kenneth to call him ‘Dad’. Billy is so shocked and confused. If Kenneth, a nephew, is now to call Dad, ‘Dad’, should Billy call him ‘Uncle’?

The adults are furious with his question, seen as ‘cheek’ and criticisms surround him. Distractedly he picks up the thick glasses of his host so that everything around him is now totally blurred. He uses them as some protection, a distance between himself and what is going on. He’s now in trouble for ‘acting the clown’ at so inappropriate a time. As the adults depart, Billy snatches a bunch of lavender and rushes to the car to thrust it at Aunty, ‘because I like you.’

(Is he redeemed by this act? No).

At that moment, Kenneth leans forward and unrolls the picture he had been drawing all morning, refusing to show anyone. He puts it on his mother’s lap, over the lavender. It’s a really close likeness to his dead father.

For more of Rosalind’s books, please see the links below.

Rosalind blogs at www.characterfulwriter.com

Forthcoming novels:

Impact, the third in the trilogy, A Relative Invasion.

The Parody, a psychological drama featuring adult male twins and a Pandora’s box.

Speechless, a psychological drama about a family whose child stops speaking.

Links, (Amazon.com and all Amazon sites)

Intrusion:  www.amazon.com/dp/B00X8CCXNO


Infiltration www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00Y348CTA


Me-Time Tales: www.amazon.co.uk/ebook/dp/B00XEBZJ7Q

Crime Shorts: A Boy with Potential www.amazon.com/dp/B00OQTA1FK

Homed: www.amazon.com/dp/B00VAVQ1DS

A Ghostly Assignment: www.amazon.co.uk/ebook/dp/B00RO8RJPU

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A Warm Welcome to Author Mark Patton

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Hello and welcome to the blog this bright and sunny Friday! Mark Patton is here to tell us about his forthcoming book, Omphalos.

Author Biography

Mark Patton was born and grew up on the island of Jersey. He studied Archaeology and Anthropology at Cambridge, and completed his PhD at University College London. He has taught at several universities in the UK and Europe, and currently teaches at the Open University. He is the author of three published historical novels, Undreamed Shores, An Accidental King and Omphalos, all published by Crooked Cat Publications, and all of which can be purchased from Amazon

Omphalos Cover 3 (2)Omphalos is a novel comprising six stories set in different time periods. “Jerusalem” is set in 1517, and the protagonist, Master Richard Mabon, is a Catholic priest from Jersey, undertaking a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Here they arrive at Jaffa (close to modern Tel Aviv):

A week after setting sail from Crete, Master Richard to the sound of joyous cheering and shouting. He hurried onto the deck, keen to know what the fuss was about. With the first light of dawn, the shore of the Holy Land had been sighted … The land itself was parched and brown, with hardly a trace of green, and few buildings, apart from two ancient towers rising up from an isolated hill less than a mile behind the coast. In front of this hill, people were gathering, setting up tents, lighting fires. Heralded by a dust cloud, a large group of horsemen arrived from the east, and poles were erected, with bright green and blue banners from them. As night fell, Master Richard breathed in the aromas of roasting meat, and heard the haunting music of drums and lutes, pipes and bassoons …

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Jaffa from the sea (image is in the Public Domain).

A trumpet sounded, and Master Richard followed the captain outside. A fleet of small boats approached from the coast. Master Richard boarded the first boat, along with the captain and Tomaso. Their shoes wet from the sea, they stood on the beach watching as the pilgrims came ashore. He youngest among them leaped over the gunwales of the boats. The oldest, along with the few ladies, were lifted from the boats and carried ashore by their companions. All fell to their knees to kiss the ground. A young Florentine produced a reliquary box and scooped sand into it …

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Jaffa in 1839, by David Roberts (image is in the Public Domain).

Catch up with Mark on http://Author.to/MarkPatton 



Why not visit Mark on Twitter and Facebook.

A Warm Welcome to author Shani Struthers

Shani Pic (2)Born and bred in the sunny seaside town of Brighton, one of the first literary conundrums Shani had to deal with was her own name – Shani can be pronounced in a variety of ways but in this instance it’s Shay-nee not Shar-ney or Shan-ni – although she does indeed know a Shanni – just to confuse matters further!

Hobbies include reading and writing – so no surprises there. After graduating from Sussex University with a degree in English and American Literature, Shani became a freelance copywriter. Twenty years later, the day job includes crafting novels too. Writing both contemporary fiction and paranormal mystery, she is the author of The Runaway Year and The Runaway Ex, both published by Omnific Publishing. Her paranormal work is published by Crooked Cat Publishing and includes Jessamine and the bestselling Psychic Surveys Book One: The Haunting of Highdown Hall and Psychic Surveys Book Two: Rise to Me. All are available on Amazon.

The Returnpublished June 2015 – is the third in the Runaway series but can also be read as a standalone.

Psychic Surveys Book One: The Haunting of Highdown Hall – Synopsis…

‘Good morning, Psychic Surveys. How can I help?’

The latest in a long line of psychically-gifted females, Ruby Davis can see through the veil that separates this world and the next, helping grounded souls to move towards the light – or ‘home’ as Ruby calls it. Not just a job for Ruby, it’s a crusade and one she wants to bring to the High Street. Psychic Surveys is born.

Based in Lewes, East Sussex, Ruby and her team of freelance psychics have been kept busy of late. Specialising in domestic cases, their solid reputation is spreading – it’s not just the dead that can rest in peace but the living too. All is threatened when Ruby receives a call from the irate new owner of Highdown Hall. Film star Cynthia Hart is still in residence, despite having died in 1958.

Winter deepens and so does the mystery surrounding Cynthia. She insists the devil is blocking her path to the light long after Psychic Surveys have ‘disproved’ it. Investigating her apparently unblemished background, Ruby is pulled further and further into Cynthia’s world and the darkness that now inhabits it.

For the first time in her career, Ruby’s deepest beliefs are challenged.

Does evil truly exist? And if so, is it the most relentless force of all?

Haunting of Highdown Hall Cover MEDIUM WEB 2 (2)Psychic Surveys Book One: The Haunting of Highdown Hall – when Ruby meets Cash…

“Do you come here often?” said Cash, attempting to fill the gap. “Sorry, that’s such a cliché! I just meant I haven’t seen you in here before.” He looked mortified.

“That’s okay,” Ruby rushed to reassure him, “it’s as good a question as any, and yes, I do come here quite often. It’s my local; I work just up the road.”

“Oh right, I’m usually at the other end of town actually, at The Snowdrop, thought I’d pop in here for a change tonight though. I work locally as well. What do you do?”

And here it was, so soon, the question she always dreaded. How should she reply? The answer: ‘I see dead people’ rarely enamoured her to strangers even if they had seen and enjoyed the film Sixth Sense. Rather, it tended to make them look at her with barely concealed horror before making some excuse, any excuse, no matter how trivial, and hightailing it from her, condemning her mid-flight as some sort of fruit loop. Until they encountered a problem of the spiritual kind that is. Then they flew right back.

Refusing to be embarrassed, however, and reminding herself that her profession was just as valid as any other, she replied confidently, “I’m a surveyor, a psychic surveyor.”

“A what?” he asked, clearly baffled.

Holding her head high, she continued, “I run a company called Psychic Surveys, just a short walk from here up the High Street, opposite the castle. I survey houses for paranormal presence and, if such a presence exists, I work either alone or with a team of psychics to send that presence into the light, where it belongs.”

“You’re a ghost hunter?” gasped Cash, his eyes wide, not with horror she was quick to note, but fascination.

“We don’t call them ghosts, we call them spirits,” she pointed out. “And we certainly do not go hunting for them.”

“Wow! I never thought I’d be sitting in a pub on a Monday night talking to a ghost hunter!”

“As I’ve just explained,” Ruby replied, a little peevishly this time, “I am not a ghost hunter, I’m a psychic surveyor. There’s a difference.”

Nodding towards their empty glasses Cash said, “Well, whatever that difference is, I’d love to hear about it. Another drink?”

Psychic Surveys Book Three: 44 Gilmore Street is in progress.

All events in Shani’s books are inspired by true life…

Brighton-based author of paranormal fiction, including UK Amazon Bestseller, Psychic Surveys Book One: The Haunting of Highdown Hall. Psychic Surveys Book Two: Rise to Me, is also available and due out in November 2015 is Eve: A Christmas Ghost Story – the prequel to the Psychic Surveys series. Shani is also the author of Jessamine, an atmospheric psychological romance set in the Highlands of Scotland and described as a ‘Wuthering Heights for the 21st century.’

Catch up with Shani via her website www.shanistruthers.com

The Haunting of Highdown Hall UK http://tinyurl.com/lak4ub2

US http://tinyurl.com/l29wj78

Aus http://tinyurl.com/pc73ggz

Canada http://tinyurl.com/owg9b5w

Why not visit Shani on her Facebook Author Page: http://tinyurl.com/p9yggq9

Twitter: https://twitter.com/shani_struthers

Blog: http://shanisite.wordpress.com

Goodreads http://tinyurl.com/mq25mav