Thursday, May 19, 2022

They Disappeared by Joy Ellis

I’m back with yet another installment in the Jackman and Evans Series and it was an intense one. Urban explorers have gone missing and so has Orla Cracken, the mysterious head of the IT department for the Saltern-Le-Fen Constabulary. Could it be a coincidence, or are disappearances connected?

When DI Rowan Jackman and DS Evans are told that the IT boss has disappeared, they soon suspect foul play. Orla Cracken, known as Orac, is no ordinary techie; she was once a field agent traveling abroad undercover, working for the government.

Meanwhile DC Robbie Melton discovers that two people, both urban explorers, have mysteriously disappeared whilst out exploring abandoned buildings. One went missing at a disused airfield, but was it a military base, or was it civilian?

The gruesome discovery of their decaying bodies found hanging in ancient church ruins bursts the case wide open, and Jackman and Evans are under pressure to find the killer. With Orac safely back in the picture following a secret journey to Ireland to try and find her long-lost sister who went missing as a child, the hunt is now on to find the killer before he hangs his next victim.

It soon becomes clear that the killer is targeting urban explorers, but why is he determined to track down and torture these innocent people, and how is the case connected to Orac’s mysterious past, still shrouded in secrecy?

Series: Jackman & Evan's #7 | Publisher: Audible | Narrator:  Richard Armitage | Length: 10 hrs 14 min|  Genre: Mystery/Thriller | Source: Publisher | Rating: 4 Cups

All is not well at the Saltern-Le-Fen Constabulary. Orla, the mysterious IT genius who has a past involving secret government work, is missing and Robbie has his hands full with the disappearance of two urban explorers. With the team on edge, a gruesome discovery sends Jackman and Evans on the hunt for a killer. As information comes to light regarding Orla, it soon appears that a connection from her past could be the one targeting the urban explorers.

Just a quick note before getting into my thoughts…in this book, the Urban Explorers are decay photographers, meaning they take pictures of abandoned—often destroyed—buildings/ruins/locations then load them to a website. While I knew that Urban Explorers existed (everyone’s seen the videos on FB or YouTube), I never realized there were actual chapters of them in the UK. I don’t think that they’re as big in the States as they are overseas but I could be wrong. It was nice seeing something unique in this book.

Now, on to the review…There were a lot of personal things going on in this one. Jackman and Evans are finally out from under the black cloud of Alistair Ashcroft and starting to get back to some form of normalcy. We’re starting to see more of the personal lives of both Rowan Jackman and Ruth Evans and I did really enjoy that. We’ve received glimpses in the previous books but those were usually in connection to cases that were close to them so it was nice to see a little more of their day-to-day lives away from the police department. I also enjoyed seeing Orla’s backstory; she’s been one of my favorites throughout the series.

The mysteries and investigations in this one were a little different from the others. We have two different avenues: the missing/murdered urban explorers and the disappearance of Orla. The urban explorers have been doing their own investigating as well as helping Robbie with the police investigation. Because the urban explorers explore abandoned places and ruins, there’s a lot of foot traffic required and a lot of combing through debris that goes along with abandoned buildings in hopes of finding evidence. Then we have Orla’s disappearance, which is a lot of IT investigating as well as following her journey, (I’m not going to say much about it as I don’t want to spoil things).   

While I enjoyed this one, I did have a few issues with it, which is normal with this series as they’ve been a bit hit or miss with me. This one was a bit slow to start; it’s not until the end of chapter 4 that things get going. The start wasn’t boring, just not what I expected. I also have an issue with the mystery and issue surrounding Orla. There’s been so much buildup—even in the previous books—that the reveal just fell flat. I was just expecting so much more.

I will say, out of all the books, this one was goriest of them thus far. I’m not normally the squeamish type but some of the descriptions in this one regarding the crime scenes kind of icked me out.

As always, Richard Armitage brilliantly narrates this one.

Overall, this was one of my favorites of the series. I really enjoyed seeing a combination of the personal lives and the professional lives; it added more depth to the characters and allowed more of their personality to shine through. While one aspect of the mystery lacked, the other made up for it and held my attention. It was also nice to see the characters almost tied up in a nice little bow. Character-wise, if this one had been the last in the series, it would have been a great way to end it. Thankfully, there is more from the world of Jackman and Evans. 

Jackman & Evans Series (recommended listening order)


Their Lost Daughters

The Murderer's Son

The Fourth Friend

The Guilty Ones

The Stolen Boys

The Patient Man

They Disappeared

The Night Thief


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