Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books
Publication Date: March 2014
Bones meets Fringe in a big, dark, scary, brilliantly-plotted urban thriller that will leave you guessing until the very end.
Nearly Boswell knows how to keep secrets. Living in a DC trailer park, she knows better than to share anything that would make her a target with her classmates. Like her mother’s job as an exotic dancer, her obsession with the personal ads, and especially the emotions she can taste when she brushes against someone’s skin. But when a serial killer goes on a killing spree and starts attacking students, leaving cryptic ads in the newspaper that only Nearly can decipher, she confides in the one person she shouldn’t trust: the new guy at school—a reformed bad boy working undercover for the police, doing surveillance. . . on her.
Nearly might be the one person who can put all the clues together, and if she doesn’t figure it all out soon—she’ll be next.
I picked this book up because I was tired of all the sappy, angst-filled romance novels I was reading; and within a few hours, I was done. I know that the synopsis compares Nearly Gone to Bones and Fringe, and while I don’t think that’s a fair comparison, this book turned out to be a very good read.
Nearly Boswell leads a struggle-filled life. Her mother is an exotic dancer, her dad disappeared five years ago, and she has abilities she can’t tell anyone about. The only thing Nearly has going for her is her brains, and she has to ace her classes so that she can get a ticket out of her trailer neighbourhood. When she starts receiving cryptic messages in newspaper ads, she becomes worried; when her tutees start showing up dead, she becomes convinced that someone is out to get her.
I found Nearly to be sort of a loner, despite the fact that she has two best friends. Because of her ability to “taste” people’s feelings when she touches them, she tries her best to stay away from all physical contact with people. Even though she is an empath, she’s obviously not in touch with her own emotions: she doesn’t seem so devastated when people connected to her show up dead. I also found Nearly to be very reckless (sometimes stupidly so), and regardless of her prowess in Chemistry, she did quite a number of foolish things.
A fellow reviewer described Nearly Gone as “a grittier homage to Nancy Drew, with more blood and fewer sweater sets and penny loafers”, and I quite agree with her. There are few obvious answers and predictable scenes, which adds to the mystery. I like the fact that even though there is a bit of the paranormal in this story, the plot is quite believable. The characters are interesting to read about, and there is the presence of romance (which, thankfully, is not the focus of the entire story). I also like the fact that the descriptions are not too gruesome, even though the pictures that come to mind are not pretty.
I did find it a bit hard to believe that the media (or National Security) wasn’t all over the case of the unknown killer, but because I like this story, I can overlook a minor flaw.
In a nutshell, I found Nearly Gone to be an interesting read, with complicated characters and a plot that kept me guessing. If you like suspense/thriller stories, this is for you 🙂