‘And Then You Were Gone’ by RJ Jacobs


And Then You Were Gone, a debut novel by RJ Jacobs forthcoming in March 2019, features an unreliable narrator.

Emily Firestone is a psychologist with bipolar II disorder, and she struggles to manage her life and career. She accompanies her boyfriend, Paolo, an epidemiologist, on a boat trip. They’re on a lake, and they’re having a mildly good time. There is wine (lots of it) plus the looming specter of Emily’s fear of open water. She falls into a drunken stupor, and the next thing she knows, Paolo is missing. She has no idea what might have happened to him, and her downward spiral ensues. She is considered a person of interest in Paolo’s disappearance, and receives a tip that he may have been murdered. As she investigates, Emily uncovers local murders that may be related, and a singularly ambitious villain.

The novel’s strengths include an exceptional style of prose that is often missing from debut mysteries and thrillers; a realistic protagonist thanks to the author’s first-hand knowledge of the effects of mania on decision-making (he’s a psychologist); and a strong denouement.

Thanks to Netgalley and Crooked Lane Books for providing an e-galley.