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The Moment She Was Gone    by Evan Hunter order for
Moment She Was Gone
by Evan Hunter
Order:  USA  Can
Pocket, 2003 (2002)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio, CD, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by David Pitt

I swear, I don't know how this guy does it. When he's not writing terrific police procedurals and whatnot as Ed McBain, he is, under his real name, writing searing dramas like this one.

Andrew Gulliver's twin sister, Annie, is missing. Has she pulled another one of her disappearing stunts - Annie's something of a troubled individual, with a history of weirdness - or is something a bit more sinister going on? Like some of Hunter's early novels - I'm thinking particularly of Buddwing, or Strangers When We Meet - it features strong, realistic characters in strong, realistic situations.

In terms of plot, in terms of events happening sequentially, not much happens in The Moment She Was Gone. But in terms of drama, there's plenty going on. While he tries to figure out what's happened to his sister, Andrew goes back over his and Annie's lives, over his own failed marriage and her various disturbing episodes (like, for example, her trip to Sicily, where she claims she was raped), and Hunter builds, slowly and movingly, a portrait of a seriously distressed family - in a slicker, less well written novel, we might call the family 'dysfunctional,' but that catch-all jargon-term would do a serious disservice to Hunter's subtle character-building.

It would be ridiculous to say something like 'this is one of Hunter's best novels,' because all his novels are so very good. Let's just say it's a great novel and leave it at that, shall we?

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