Audiobook recommendation- And Then She Vanished

How I too, became a time traveller!

‘Included’, isn’t that the best single word to Audible subscribers!? And how chuffed am I since Audible introduced Audible Plus, an all-you-can-listen smorgasbord of select audio books, podcasts, and original Audible content, and here is where I found ‘And Then She Vanished’ by Nick Jones, the indicator that it was included in the all-you-can-listen catalogue was that single word “Included”! Yay!

  I have to admit, the title of a book heavily influences whether or not I’d ever listen to it. Perhaps it’s because I’m blind, and I’m not drawn in by the pretty colours and illustrations of a book jacket, so if the book title itself sounds boring? I don’t invest the 30 seconds to click into the title and read the blurb. And “And Then She Vanished”, was almost a victim of this character flaw of mine. To me, the title didn’t speak to me. However, when I saw it again listed under Science Fiction, I clicked in, as I was now intrigued as the title originally suggested of a run of the mill Murder Mystery, but it was science fiction and I wanted to know why?

And if you’re like me, and was going to pass-up on it? Don’t! The book is darn good, darn good.

So, the story’s protagonist Joseph Bridgeman (a 30 something guy), lives alone in his old family home, haunted by the past- where his younger 7 year old sister vanished back in the late 90s never to be seen again. The incident caused the gradual unravelling of his family and particularly Joseph’s life, and where the novel starts Joe hasn’t been able to sleep for days, he hasn’t left the home in a while, he’s all out of food and the bank is going to repossess the family home- all that he has now. Then he’s talked into seeing a psychiatrist to help him with his sleep problems and whilst practicing the relaxation methods, he accidently time travels back in time. And once he comes to grips with his newfound ability, his mind entertains the thought “what if he travels back in time to the day when his sister goes missing, could he save her?” Which would then right all the wrongs which plagues his family after her disappearance!?

Sounds interesting right?

And let me tell you, the book doesn’t disappoint! It’s thought provoking, as the concept of time travel is so intriguing that my wife and I had to stop the recording several times, just to discuss the theory of time  travel. Multiple times we thought that Nick Jones had incorrectly captured the outcomes of travelling back in time and space, but I think Nick did get it correct in the end.

And when the book was starting to unfold, we started to think, “was the sudden disappearance of his sister? Could it have been the result of Joe’s meddling as a time traveller?” But you’ll just have to read the book for yourself, to find out how the story unfolds.

And in the process, I too came to the realisation that I too was a time traveller! Yes, I am a time traveller! And let me explain.

So, living here in Australia, as a blind person we have access to the Vision Australia Talking book library service. So long before Audible came onto the scene, I was already listening to FREE audio books. Now this library wasn’t like the 2 shelves found in your local library, which housed a limited assortment of cassette tapes, but we’re talking about thousands and thousands of titles! From what I’ve heard, it was a huge warehouse like space with shelves and shelves housing countless containers of cassette tapes, a robot arm was required to retrieve the containers off the shelves, so they could be mailed out to their Vision Australia Library users.

And since I’ve been blind (2003), I’ve seen the Vision Australia library service evolve. When I first joined they had started to phase out four track cassette players and their accompanying four track cassettes. Then it was the gradual phasing out of two sided cassettes, to be  replaced by standard Compact Discs (which actually occupied the shortest stint). Then it was the introduction of the DAISY player and DAISY CDs, and at that time it was revolutionary! As here were single standard CDs which could store 20+hours of audio recordings! And you have several options now, you could wait for the VA library to send you your single CD in the mail, or you could burn your own copy onto your own blank CDs so now it was close to on-demand, or later on with a portable audio player you could download the title straight to a SD card and do away with the wastage of buying blank CDs!  What would they think of next- so I thought? And finally, the VA Smart phone app was introduced, and all titles were streamed from a cloud based library, which brought it in-line with how we access most of our medias these days. So, in a way I’ve been brought up on the idea of free all-you-can-listen to audiobooks, but here is where I started to realise I’m a time traveller.

If you can imagine, the average Vision Australia Library user is probably an older person, as deteriorating vision is often associated to age related illnesses. And you can imagine, once an audio book has been recorded (oftentimes as a result of donations to pay for a professional narrator, or narrated by an untrained volunteer), of course those recordings will not be discarded when the physical title is digitalised. So, you can imagine the types of books which are available in the Vision Australia Library catalogue aimed at this population. You’ve got narrators with prim proper British accents, who sounded like they laid down their audio tracks all the way back in the 1950s (but realistically it was probably the 80s). And you can also imagine the types of stories they were reading- yep, Cold war stories about espionage between the old world order.

And I remember how happy I used to be, when I could get my hands on books about modern conflicts, like accounts from the first Gulf war…… From back in 1990…. Ok, ok, I’m probably exaggerating  a bit now. But being totally honest, a new book in the VA catalogue would be a title from 2008, if the book referred to a modern day time like the early 00s, it would blow me away by its recency!

But now with Audible Plus, the titles you’ll find in there all-you-can-listen-to catalogue are NEW++!I’m not talking about titles which have sold enough copies, that the Author has approved them to be offered ‘free of charge’. But take ‘And Then She Vanished’, it has a copyright date of 2021! Yes, from last year! And the second book in the series, is also included in Audible Plus! It’s almost hard to fathom why they’re giving it away for free, if it’s so brand spanking new!?

So, all of a sudden I’m a time traveller, even last year the majority of books I was binging from the VA library (because they were free), were titles where if the protagonist operated a PC computer, I was already blown away! But now, I’m taring through the Audible Plus catalogue, and the characters have freakin’ Smart phones! Yes! Freakin’ Smart phones! It’s like I’ve time travelled 30 years into the future! Amazing!

So, if you’d like to check out ‘And Then She Vanished’ by Nick Jones, and other awesome Audio books. Just search for them in your Audible app, or consider subscribing? Currently there’s a 2 month free trial offer going on! Check it out, you’ll see why listening to books is the best way to consume a good story!  

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