BOOK CLUB: Vanished

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Vanished by Australian author Nicole Morris is a deeply moving and insightful exploration of missing people. Nothing goes unnoticed in this thought-provoking true crime novel that will enlighten and enthral.

TRIGGER WARNING: This book may be difficult for those who have or are suffering disappearance in their own lives. My thoughts are with those lost and the families looking for them. 

A large amount of us just skip over the information about missing person cases on the news because our reality doesn’t involve losing anyone we like or love. But for those people whose day starts and ends with a prayer of safe homecoming, the reality is cruel, sad, and dark.

Most missing persons cases usually end up as murders. Many of them are just people who are trying to escape their lives and forge a new identity. But the most interesting cases are those with few clues and evidence to never be completely solved. The cases remain as mysteries forever.

Blending long-form journalism with true crime, Nicole Morris has a great, distinct writing voice that keeps you grounded as she explores the world of eleven missing persons in Australia.  As she explores the background of these individuals, she has in-depth interviews with family members, detectives and investigators involved in their disappearance while exploring each case and circumstances. 

Morris beautifully illustrates the strange, ambiguous existence her subjects experienced and, in some cases, continue to experience.  I commend the families for their input and for sharing their heartache and frustration.  The obstacles, guilt, and grief they have faced would be so overwhelming. 

Vanished will wrench your heart while it stretches your mind. The author has undertaken a large inquiry, encompassing personal investigation, historical events, true crime, untold and untellable mysteries, while never losing sight of the emotional distress at the core of every missing person’s story. This is a rare book from a gifted writer: intelligent yet poignant, enlightening yet deeply disturbing.

I love true crime stories and this one is way above any other just because of the amount of detail and the way it was written.  It will require some staying power, I read it in a series of chapters with breaks in between to process the heavier parts. 

This unique book forces us to see the complex story behind each missing person and those they leave behind. I highly recommend it. 

If you know any information about a missing person, please call Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit the Australian Missing Persons Register founded by Morris in 2005.

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club members are reading Vanished by Nicole Morris. You can read their comments below or add your own review.

7 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Vanished

  1. I don’t know of anyone in life that has just vanished or been murdered but for some reason, I love watching trying to find what happened to people that disappear on tv plus read the magazines that have stories on them. It breaks my heart when anyone disappears and the not knowing of what happened to them would be horrifying.

    The author Nicole has written about some people that have vanished and in this book she chats to family members, police and anyone that was on the case to find them. It is an interesting insight of what took place before they vanished.

    I found it easy to read in that the chapters were all about the missing person. I found after reading about one case of the missing person, I needed to rest and take in what I had read. Yes it is sad but I waited for a while then would start the next chapter of a different person.

    I do remember a few names of victims in this book and to think they have never been found, just really tears at your heart. Parents have died never knowing what happened to their son or daughter. Families are torn apart.

    As I was reading, there is one girl that I remembered but she isn’t in this book but her name was Trudie. I always wondered about her as she disappeared on the day of my 21st birthday. in the year of 1978. She disappeared from a dance at Newport Surf Life Saving Club and she was seen hitch hiking home. We used to drive down Mona Vale Road nearly every weekend and I always looked out at the bush wondering if she was just buried out there somewhere. Her body has never been found and no one has ever been charged. I’d love to know more and hopefully one day, find what happened to her.

    Back to this book though, it is well written and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it although it is sad knowing that they just vanished. If you love true life crime stories then this book will keep you on your toes.

    Hopefully one day, we will find these missing people and find out what did happen to them. As I read the last story of Mark Leicester I cried so many tears. Life is not fair.

    Thank you Beauty & Lace and Big Sky Publishing for gifting this book for me to read and of course Nicole Morris for writing this book as it keeps the unknown alive for us and hopefully truths will come out one day.

  2. Years ago I knew of a local lady that had vanished – unkown to locals that her body would be found just days after she vanished. Sadly, she’d been murdered by her ex-partner.
    Vanished brings the stories of Australian’s who have disappeared. Each chapter of this book is about 1 missing person – and their families experiences are bought to the fore. Each family shared how their lives changed and how the lives of entire families changed. Nothing would ever be the same for them. The relentless searching, the devastation that there is (in some cases) that their loved one isn’t coming home because their loved has been murdered. And the frustration of lack of information/incorrect information in police files and the inaction of them acting on information and the badly given response – they are an adult they (the missing person) are free to leave/do what they wish at any point in their life so they aren’t necessarily missing.
    Each story is heart wrenching – the frustration and devastation is hard hitting.
    With 17 years of trying to locate missing persons under her belt, Nicole Morris is the founder of the National Missing Persons Register. Through this book each story has created a lasting awareness of these missing people and the courage of their families who have been searching for answers.

    An amazing read for fans of True Crime – I hope these families get the answers they so desperately seek and that their loved ones will be found.

    Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Big Sky Publishing for my copy of Nicole Morris ‘Vanished’.

  3. ‘Vanished’ is a collection of 10 true stories of missing people told from their family’s perspective. Each chapter of the book is the story of a missing person. The courage of the family members who talk of their trauma and pain in not knowing what has happened to their loved ones is raw and truly heart wrenching. The book is a hard emotional read but it is written with respect to the families and their missing loved one.
    I found myself doing ‘side research’ on each case as I read the book such is the impact the stories had on me. It is a slow read as you really need to take some time after each chapter to digest and recover from the heartache of each story.

    Note: The author Nicole Morris who set up the Australian Missing Persons Register has written this book “to develop awareness of the plight of the courageous families of missing persons and raise public awareness to help find those people who seem to have vanished into thin air.”

    It certainly achieves that goal!

  4. Nicole Morris touched on a HARD subject on this book, and she did it with so much compassion and understanding. There are many stories of mission persons, and how it impacts their families. I feel a lot of the stories have a MAJOR thing in common. The police in all circumstances were very lacking in their response and assistance. While some families mentioned in the book may have had 1 or 2 police officers they felt really helped, or made them feel heard, many didn’t interact with any they felt helpful.

    Morris explored the impact on the families, the obstacles trauma experienced, and the grief. She did this with so much compassion, allowing readers to completely have a insight into the families mentioned. She also explores multiple theories about each missing person, which I felt analysed the individual cases and circumstances well.

    I am not normally a true crime reader, but I overall I enjoyed the book. I do feel that some chapters felt dragged out. That Morris added what felt to me fluff. While it did highlight the family members thoughts and feelings, it didn’t add much to the case. I had no larger grasp of the case or understanding in some after paragraphs of the conversations.

    I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to review this book thanks to Beauty and Lace Magazine and Big Sky Publishing

  5. ‘Vanished’, by Nicole Morris, gives a brilliant and emotional insight into the lives of the families left behind when a loved one goes missing.

    The book is non-fiction and is split into 10 chapters, each detailing an unsolved missing person’s case. There’s common themes with all the families, they all hold survivors guilt, desperation and unresolved grief. It’s at times difficult to comprehend what they have all been through

    Nicole Morris tells their stories with empathy, compassion and honesty and doesn’t sugar coat the reality these families suffer through daily.

    I really hope people will read this book and it will jog someone’s memory in one or more of the cases to hopefully get some answers and closure for those left behind.

  6. I’ve always found it horrifying that people go completely missing and we have no idea what happened to them, even decades later. This book is absolutely confronting and is a hard read. Each chapter tells a new story, from the families perspective and each one is just as hard to read. The story is full of emotion and you get a glimpse into the pain these families have had to endure, without ever getting any closure. Unfortunately many parents passed away without finding out the truth which is so sad.

    Nicole has done an excellent job writing this book to bring more awareness to these cases. I hope that these cases can be solved to give some closure to the family members still searching for their loved ones. What really stuck with me was in the first chapter, the twin of the missing person said that even after 40+ years, he could not move house because the house was the only home his sister ever knew and the only place she would know to go if she was alive out there. This comment just broke me.

  7. Thank you Beauty and Lace Magazine and Big Sky Publishing for the opportunity to review Vanished, by Nicole Morris.
    Nicole brings together stories of those people around Australia who have gone missing and delves into the circumstances leading up to the day they went missing. Interviewing loved ones and those closest to the missing persons, Nicole brings the faces we see on Missing posters to life. Heartbreaking and leaving a lasting impression of the pain that those left behind feel, days, weeks and years later. Being left with unanswered questions as to what happened to their loved ones and what/where they may be means that some family members have gone to their own deathbeds not knowing the answers to these questions.
    A beautiful insight into the humanness of tragic circumstances.

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