Thursday, January 26, 2017

Suspense Annotation - Vanishing Act by Thomas Perry

Jane Whitefield helps desperate people disappear by getting them to safety and giving them a new identity. Jane is a member of the Native American Seneca Tribe and all she has learned from her people helps her to fool and escape pursuers and cover trails. Jane returns to her home after a case one day and finds a man called John Felker waiting for her. John says he is an ex-cop turned accountant, who is being set up to be the fall guy for an embezzlement scheme and is sure he has a contract out on his life. Jane decides to accept John's case because he knows information that he could only have gotten from someone Jane knew in the past and trusts. The men chasing John show up immediately, so she must take him to an Indian reservation to hide him and prepare him for his new life. Everything does not go according to Jane's plans with this case though... in fact things backfire horribly. The story builds in tension until Jane finds herself in the Adirondacks relying on her Seneca tracking and survival skills to hopefully save her very life.

Appeal Factors
Pacing - Fast-paced with pace increasing towards ending
Tone/Mood - Danger is lurking, there's a sense of menace, uneasiness, threatening atmosphere
Story Line- A life threatening, nightmarish situation comes into the heroine's life that she must overcome. There is anxiety about how she will overcome until the final confrontation between good and evil.
Frame/Setting - The frame is somewhat detailed (not complexly detailed) because background about Jane's past is needed for understanding.
Characterization - We observe the heroine through third person narration
Style/Language - There is enough information for you to understand the situation and care for the main character but the style is not deeply detailed - it is sparse detail. The style includes Native American language and facts interspersed to give a sense of the main character's background.

Characteristics of Suspense found in Vanishing Act
  • Suspense is the focus of the story. There is increasing tension and uneasiness.
  • The reader knows the protagonist is in trouble before she does. We are a step ahead of her but still on edge about what, why, when and the danger to come - this draws the reader in.
  • The protagonist has to escape and survive. She is in jeopardy and has to get out of a bad situation.
  • There is a cat-and-mouse game with increasing tension leading to an ultimate chase scene.

Title Read Alikes
The Bone Collector by Jeffery Deaver
Contents Under Pressure by Edna Buchanan
Undercurrents by Ridley Pearson
Legally Dead by Edna Buchanan
Rules of Prey by John Sanford
The Secret Life of Souls by Jack Ketchum