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Formats
Paperback Details
  • 11/2019
  • 978-1-9772-1772-1
  • 183 pages
  • $15.95
Ebook Details
  • 11/2019
  • B081VSC835
  • 183 pages
  • $2.99
Kerry Reis
Author
Disappeared and Found
Kerry Reis, author

Adult; Mystery/Thriller; (Market)

A young woman’s search for her biological family opens up a mystifying nineteen-year-old cold case of a mother and her baby daughter disappearing while on a walk, a development that arouses interest and surprise from a couple of television programs, local and federal law enforcement, and a splintered family.
Reviews
Reis’s languorous second novel (after 2013’s Legacy Discovered) opens with college student Dorothy Samuels testing her blood type and consequently discovering that her affluent, nurturing parents are not her blood relatives. After her father confirms she was adopted, she secretly contacts Finding Family, a television series that specializes in reuniting adopted children with their biological families. The producers have Dorothy submit a DNA sample, which leads to a sibling match with Scott Bradley. Finding Family host Rory Mason calls Scott, who’s being interviewed for Gone Without a Trace, a true crime show about missing persons. Scott reveals that his mother and baby sister mysteriously disappeared 19 years earlier—and that missing sister is Dorothy.

Dorothy gradually becomes acquainted with loving, supportive Scott and the other Bradleys, which is a pleasure to read. Scott and Dorothy are both determined to learn about Dorothy’s kidnapping and their mother’s disappearance, and they share their suspicions and discoveries with law enforcement. Unfortunately, the interesting premise is bogged down by repetition (for instance, readers are constantly reminded that Dorothy’s adoptive mother died of cancer, which inspired Dorothy to pursue medical school) and long paragraphs about mundane events such as rearranging furniture. Reis’s expertise in television is evident in the meticulous details of producing and filming the two reality shows, but this also slows the pace.

As secrets are revealed, the plot becomes a bit confusing. It doesn’t help that several characters have similar names: Stephen is Dorothy’s biological father, but Steve is her love interest; Dorothy’s last name is Samuels, her birth name was Samantha (nicknamed Sammy), and Sam is a television producer. Readers will wish for more development for Dorothy, who is amiable but somewhat banal. Despite a lack of depth, the central mystery will keep readers engaged.

Takeaway: Contemporary mystery fans will enjoy unburying family secrets alongside Reis’s capable protagonists.

Great for fans of Kate Hamer’s The Doll Funeral, Mary Higgins Clark.

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: A+
Illustrations: -
Editing: B-
Marketing copy: B+

Forward Clarion

Clarion Rating: 3 out of 5

In the mystery novel Disappeared and Found, a young woman looks for answers about her past and ends up  finding more than she bargained for.

Kerry Reis’s mystery novel Disappeared and Found involves an adoption story that might actually be a kidnapping.

Dorothy is a medical student enrolled in a community college. During a lab experiment, she tests for her blood type, but discovers that it doesn’t match her mother’s or father’s. When she asks her father about this, he refuses to give her answers. Dorothy tries to contact her family doctor, who also treated her mother’s cancer, but the doctor dismisses Dorothy, too. As a last resort, Dorothy contacts a reality television show, Finding Family. Through it, she learns that her DNA matches another man’s; the show suspects that he is Dorothy’s sibling.

Scott, Dorothy’s birth sibling, is also in contact with a television show, Without a Trace. When they meet, Dorothy learns that she was not put up for adoption; she was considered kidnapped, and her birth mother is still missing. Now that Dorothy has emerged, alive and well, the FBI gets involved, reopening the nineteen-year-old cold case.

While Dorothy grew up in Sacramento, the potential kidnapping took place in Green Lake, Oregon. Dorothy and Scott, alongside law enforcement officers, move between both cities as they investigate. Locations are fleshed out with details about restaurants, landmarks, and nature, while the layouts and decor of particular rooms also ground the characters in their locations.

Some characters have similar names; within the text, names are confused or switched, and it is sometimes hard to determine who is in a scene. The text’s excessive adverbs lead to awkwardness, as when Dorothy smiles coyly at her brother. Conversations are stiff; some read like soliloquies, their deliveries sounding forced.

Though Dorothy’s experiences are emotional, including the reunion with her birth family and the subsequent investigation, her internal thoughts aren’t shared. She’s an aloof figure, and it becomes hard to relate to her with empathy. Scott is a more active character: he’s aggressive and takes action. He’s positioned as someone who makes his own choices, and his clear-cut decision-making is compelling. The enforcement officials working Dorothy’s potential kidnapping case are less believably constructed; their protocol for interviews, and their evidence collecting, seems sloppy.

The narration is detached as it moves between characters, its point of view jumping from Dorothy to the investigating officers, between the heartwarming family reunion and the ongoing investigation. This back-and-forth pattern moves both of the plot elements forward well. Secondary characters involved in the disappearance of Scott and Dorothy’s mother give themselves away with their obvious reactions and statements, though; the plot twist at the end of the book is spoiled too early on as a result.

InD'Tale Magazine

Dorothy never suspected anything unusual in her family until a blood test taken during a college course reveals she couldn’t possibly be the natural daughter of the parents who raised her. Driven to find her birth family, she applies for a spot on a television program that tracks down and reunites adopted children with their birth families. However, when the television crew matches her DNA to that of mysterious nineteen-year-old cold case being investigated by another television show, her simple search turns into something far more nefarious. Was she adopted or kidnapped? And what happened to her birth mother all those years ago? With the aid of her brother, Scott, the siblings set off to find the truth — but will it unite them, or divide their families forever?

 

A strikingly suspenseful tale of hidden truths, “Disappeared and Found” takes a simple quest and gives it so many twists and turns readers will be on pins and needles until the end! Dorothy and Scott are intricate characters: one lost and one angry, each with different motives to find the truth and vastly different upbringings that color their quest. The mystery is complex and the quick pacing keeps the reader engaged as each clue takes the siblings back and forth in their search. While there is minor romance, the emotions in this tale are mostly negative as the siblings’ struggle with hidden truths in their family adding tension that will have the reader on edge the more they read. As a result, readers will find themselves torn over wanting to know the truth and wondering whether it is best left hidden.

Readers' Favorite

In the intriguing mystery novel, Disappeared and Found by Kerry Reis, during a normal college laboratory class, a young woman is shocked to discover her identity is suspiciously obscure. Dorothy decided to enter the medical field while caring for her dying mother. In one of her classes, Dorothy was required to test her blood type. However, Dorothy's instructor informed her that either she had done her test incorrectly, or she wasn't her parents' natural born child. When she confronted her father, he confirmed her worst fears. Dorothy had been adopted. Following the advice of a friend, Dorothy applied to a national television show to locate her biological family. However, unpleasant revelations weren't over for Dorothy. After sending in her DNA sample, the evidence came back that Dorothy was a missing person in a nineteen-year-old cold case. Sadly, her mother had disappeared as well. What had happened to Dorothy's mother? Who had abducted Dorothy? Reaching out to her long-lost family, Dorothy unearthed some more ugly truths that incriminated family members. Dorothy and her new-found brother Scott set out to find the answers.

The loss and deception related to missing family members are depicted in the enthralling sleuth mystery Disappeared and Found by Kerry Reis. Having the unique aspect of seeing both sides of an abduction, the reader can relate to the victims. It is an astounding story that holds you within its grip from the first page. The twists and turns within the plot keep the reader guessing until the final page. Until I discovered who the culprit was and what was behind their actions, I couldn't put the book down. If you love a good mystery where a cold case is finally solved, then you won't want to pass up this extraordinary novel.

Formats
Paperback Details
  • 11/2019
  • 978-1-9772-1772-1
  • 183 pages
  • $15.95
Ebook Details
  • 11/2019
  • B081VSC835
  • 183 pages
  • $2.99

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