And Then You Were Gone by R. J. Jacobs Review + a chat with the author

When I saw that And Then You Were Gone was described as for fans of B. A. Paris and Mary Kubica, I knew I had to read it and it did not disappoint! This novel is intense and compelling and a well-written blend of fascinating characters with a deeply layered story, which unwinds with intensity. It will grip your imagination and have you guessing until the very last astonishing twist. 

This book was hard to put down! I wanted to keep reading to find out what would happen next and I was constantly changing my mind about who I thought was behind everything. I think I suspected every character at some point in the story, and to me, that's what makes an amazing thriller.  

The characters were believable and the setting was well described so the reader could easily follow what was happening. With a Bachelor in Psychology, I absolutely loved that the main character was a therapist with bipolar disorder with the ability to recognize when her thoughts were misleading her and turning her symptoms as strength. 

Buckle up because you won't be able to put this one down! I look forward to reading future work from the author.

Thank you NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for my electronic ARC as well as HarperCollins Canada for my physical ARC. 

My rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Here's a quick synopsis:
After years of learning how to manage her bipolar disorder, Emily Firestone finally has it under control. Even better, her life is coming together: she’s got a great job, her own place, and a boyfriend, Paolo, who adores her. So when Paolo suggests a weekend sailing trip, Emily agrees—wine, water, and the man she loves? What could be better? But when Emily wakes the morning after they set sail, the boat is still adrift…and Paolo is gone.

A strong swimmer, there’s no way Paolo drowned, but Emily is at a loss for any other explanation. Where else could he have gone? And why? As the hours and days pass by, each moment marking Paolo’s disappearance, Emily’s hard-won stability begins to slip.

But when Emily uncovers evidence suggesting Paolo was murdered, the investigation throws her mania into overdrive, even as she becomes a person of interest in her own personal tragedy. To clear her name, Emily must find the truth—but can she hold onto her own sanity in the process? (Reference : Goodreads)


After reading And Then You Were Gone, the author was kind enough to chat with me about the story of the woman who inspired the main character of his novel. Here is what he had to say:

The real Emily was a close friend of mine through high school--she was incredibly high achieving, finishing 3rd in our class. She started school at Duke, but then later transferred to University of Florida, where I was studying. She didn't specify, but I think her depression motivated the transfer. We both majored in Psychology--she pushed me hard when we studied together. 
After graduation, we both went to grad school for Psychology--She went to University of Texas and I was nearby at Texas A&M. When we compared our days, I was always amazed by how much she got done. At one point I asked her, 'when do you sleep?'. Then, I realized she didn't sleep. She drank a ton. She made some weird dating choices.
She was inspiring, frustrating, funny, brilliant. 
She went through some dark times after school, eventually moving to New York and starting a few small business ventures. 
About three years ago, she committed suicide by stepping off a building. 
I wrestled a ton with the loss of my friend. I think I started writing the book as a way of dealing with her loss--reimagining what her life might have been like if she'd finished her Ph.D. at UT, and gone into our field.

Thank you so much R. J. Jacobs for sharing the story of your late friend. I'm deeply sorry for your loss and I am sure she is proud of the story you have written in her honor. Best of luck for future novels.

Mommy Reads

1 comment

  1. I love me a good psychological thriller. I'll have to check this one out. Thanks for the rec!