June CSFF Blog Tour Day 1: Vanish, by Tom Pawlik

Okay, this is just too weird. June’s CSFF Blog Tour selection is titled, Vanish, and my review copy vanished somewhere in the bowels of the US Postal Service.

As if it never existed…

–cue scary music–

So, in lieu of a review of Vanish, I will do a meta-review, a survey of what everybody else is saying about the book, looking for common themes and other patterns. Kind of like what the “ghost hunters” do on TV, gathering a lot of indirect evidence but never actually coming in contact with the ectoplasm.

Today, we’ll focus on that wellspring of malevolent energy, Amazon.com, which makes it fiendishly simple for the unwashed consumer to publish a review of any book in Amazon’s inventory, disproportionately modifying its perceived quality, popularity, and likelihood of turning up in a search. The power! THE POWER!


Okay, pronoun pack and electromagnetic syntax trap are charged up. Doing a quick search for “Vanish” on the Amazon books page brings up Mr. Pawlik’s opus in position number 2, beneath an identically-titled, but totally unrelated book by Tess Gerritsen. Not bad.

It’s in stock. You can get it for $2 off and free “super saver shipping” if you act now! Also comes in a Kindle version for those of you on the cutting edge of lex-tech.  The Amazon review rating is currently 4.5 out of 5 stars, with 18 customer reviews listed. Dare I click on the customer review link?

Yes, I dare!

Most everybody gave a very brief synopsis of the story and seemed reluctant to tell too much about it and spoil the surprise. Mysterious cloud envelops Chicago area, and a few people regain consciousness afterward to discover everyone else has disappeared, but a creepy presence persists and follows the non-Vanished as they search for the Vanished.

11 of the 18 reviewers liked the book enough to give it a full 5-star rating.  They enjoyed the suspense, and most thought it was a “page turner” that hooked them immediately and kept them reading until the end. They drew some parallels between this book and films such as I Am Legend and Twilight Zone, as well as novels by Frank Peretti, Ted Dekker, Dean Koontz, and Stephen King.

My favorite review comment: “It combines the fast read and terror of Steven (sic) King and the style of the Left Behind series.” I can’t say I’ve ever fully understood the Christian audience’s attraction to Stephen King, but there it is again, like those little glowing orbs in haunted house photography.

A couple of reviewers noted that this book won the 2006 Operation First Novel Contest sponsored by the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild, which is a spoiler, if you think about it.

Negative comments were few. One reviewer complained about an ambigous ending, another felt there was too much “padding” at the beginning. A commenter who had apparently been surfing reviews on his Kindle was upset that the author and/or publisher seemed to be concealing the Christian themes of the story, but a tab on the cover identifies the story as a Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writer’s Guild selection, and it’s published by Tyndale House. Hmm. The professional editorial review from Publishers Weekly asserts the story’s prose is “flat” and character development “thin.”

Amazon notes that customers frequently buy this book together with The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: A Novel (Oprah Book Club #62) by David Wroblewski, which is basically Hamlet set in Wisconsin. Yet another unsolved mystery.

Tomorrow, I’ll cast my net farther into the ghostly aether of the internet, in an attempt to snare electromagnetic messages about Vanish…from Beyond! Until then, please peruse the plethora of paranormal postings by the perceptive practitioners of the CSFF Blog Tour:

Brandon Barr
Justin Boyer
Keanan Brand
Grace Bridges
Karri Compton
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Alex Field
Beth Goddard
Todd Michael Greene
Ryan Heart
Christopher Hopper
Joleen Howell
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Eve Nielsen
John W. Otte
John Ottinger
Donita K. Paul
Epic Rat
Steve Rice
Crista Richey
Hanna Sandvig
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Speculative Faith
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Phyllis Wheeler

*Featured book, Vanish – http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1414318936
*New release, Valley of the Shadow – http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1414326793

Tom Pawlik’s Web site – http://www.tompawlik.com/
Tom Pawlik’s blog – http://www.tompawlik.com/blog.htm

10 thoughts on “June CSFF Blog Tour Day 1: Vanish, by Tom Pawlik

  1. Fred, I’m soooooo sorry you’re one of those who underwent the vanishing of Vanish. This really was an intriguing novel, one I’m happy I had a chance to read. I feel like you all whose books are lost in postal purgatory are missing out.

    Still, for not having read the book, this is one of the best posts going!


    1. No problem, Becky. These things happen…just often enough to give me the heebie-jeebies. 🙂 If nothing else, it gave me a chance to unleash my inner ghostbuster.

  2. Good work Fred. Becky sold your post and I enjoyed it as well. I had to sit this tour out due to massive busyness (first one in ages), but now I’m intrigued about this book. Too bad my Barnes and Noble 20% off expired. Talk about horror!

    1. Hi, Jason! Sorry you couldn’t make it this time. Glad you enjoyed the post…it sort of took on a life of its own, and almost makes me wonder if I’m better off not reading the books before I review them. 🙂

      I’m also living the bookstore horror…stuck in a town with only Books-a-Million and Barnes & Noble, and a Borders Rewards card in my wallet. Aaagh!

    1. Hi, Steve!

      Ecclesiates 1:19 strikes again…I’d take you up on the franchise, but I’ve already got my hands full with ShamWow and MightyPutty. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s