Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Review: He's Gone by Deb Caletti

He's Gone by Deb Caletti
Publisher: Bantam
Publication date: 14th May 2013
My rating: 3.5 stars

“What do you think happened to your husband, Mrs. Keller?” The Sunday morning starts like any other, aside from the slight hangover. Dani Keller wakes up on her Seattle houseboat, a headache building behind her eyes from the wine she drank at a party the night before. But on this particular Sunday morning, she’s surprised to see that her husband, Ian, is not home. As the hours pass, Dani fills her day with small things. But still, Ian does not return. Irritation shifts to worry, worry slides almost imperceptibly into panic. And then, like a relentless blackness, the terrible realization hits Dani: He’s gone. As the police work methodically through all the logical explanations—he’s hurt, he’s run off, he’s been killed—Dani searches frantically for a clue as to whether Ian is in fact dead or alive. And, slowly, she unpacks their relationship, holding each moment up to the light: from its intense, adulterous beginning, to the grandeur of their new love, to the difficulties of forever. She examines all the sins she can—and cannot—remember. As the days pass, Dani will plumb the depths of her conscience, turning over and revealing the darkest of her secrets in order to discover the hard truth—about herself, her husband, and their lives together.

He’s Gone is the hauntingly beautiful tale of a wife at loss after her husband goes missing. Dani and her husband Ian came back from a party one night and then her husband isn’t seen again. The worst part is that Dani can’t even remember when she saw him last. She was sure he came into the house with her, but she had taken some Vicodin pills with a couple of wine glasses, so her memory is a little bit blurry. Then when days stretch into a week, with no clues fingers start pointing towards Dani, she has no evidence to back her up and the way she’s erratically behaving, it seems as though she’s more involved than she’s letting on.

With He’s Gone I was hooked into finding out the mystery behind Ian’s disappearance, the little clues that we got, several people could have potentially been involved; Ian’s ex wife Mary, Ian’s kids, Ian’s maybe mistress on the side or even Dani’s ex husband Mark. Dani and Ian didn’t get together in the best way, they were both married at the time and had a brief affair, and once Dani had left Mark, Ian was still indecisive about what he wanted, constantly flickering back and forth between Mary and Dani. And with kids involved on both sides, it made Dani’s and Ian’s relationship, even more strenuous. So the mystery surrounding Ian’s disappearance was one heck of a complicated one. 

The difficult thing for me with He’s Gone was that that there was an incredible amount of detail to Dani and Ian’s back story. I enjoyed learning about how Ian and Dani first got together and I know the back story was crucial to the case and what sort of people Dani and Ian had become today, but sometimes the richness of detail could be a little overwhelming. I’m not sure if this is Caletti’s style of writing, as this is the first book I have picked up by her, but some of the detail I could have done without. This is my only criticism for He’s Gone, because otherwise He’s Gone was a pretty decent read. Caletti does an amazing job of getting you right into Dani’s mind; it’s not the best place to be in at times; she’s full of self doubt and guilt. But being able to get into the murky depths of her memories was at the same time a scary yet fascinating feeling. Dani had been through so much, and at the beginning I was totally on her side, but then Caletti starts giving you niggling feelings, Dani’s self doubt over Ian’s disappearance tends to grow increasingly, that at parts I suspected that she had lost it and killed Ian. I liked how Caletti thoroughly messed with my head.

He’s Gone at times was a heavy read, it dealt with issues of abuse, loss and complicated relationships. But it was also a story which looked in detail at the clues and assumptions we pick up and make of people along the way. It’s a story which puts a lot of things into perspective and makes you want to stop and think a lot of things through.


  1. I remember seeing this book around and it seemed really interesting for me. I'm glad that you were able to enjoy it overall but I think that books with some unnecessary details get boring at least to me. Great review Jasprit :)

  2. Hmm...this sounds a little like Gone Girl, which is such a terrifying premise. I'm glad you've enjoyed this, although I don't think this is for me. It seems so dark and yet I'm so intrigued as well. Thanks for putting this on my radar, Jasprit! :)

  3. Ooh I love that you even suspected Dani at one point. I do enjoy having my head messed with like that. Excessive detail can sometimes bother me too, especially when I think most of it is unnecessary, but I still like the sound of this book. Lovely review, Jasprit! :)

  4. Hi Jasprit,
    "He’s Gone at times was a heavy read, it dealt with issues of abuse, loss and complicated relationships. " ------ It sounds dark. But I love Deb Caletti's books :D Thanks for the review :D


  5. I love the bit of mystery in this one. I haven't heard of it before or read any of the author's other work, but it may be something for me to check out. Great review! :)

  6. I read STAY by Deb Caletti, and it just blew me away, so I was really hoping this would be quite the same. It sounds like it lacks a bit of the fluidity that made STAY so very special though, and that's too bad! I love that you pointed out its strengths though, and I'm sure I'll still give this a go. Great review, Jasprit!

  7. I've enjoyed Caletti's books in the past, but I think I would have to be in the right mood to read this book. It's so different from anything I read. But maybe I'll feel like it at some point! I'm glad you liked it, and I would definitely recommend trying Caletti's other books.

    -Taylor @ Reading is the Thing 

  8. I love a good mystery, but I'm not sure if I want to read about married couple with ex-wife/husband and kids. Really not interested in that area, but it's good to know that the story was done well and the mystery wasn't predictable. Great review, Jasprit!

  9. I've read Caletti's YA novels before, and I'm interested to see how she makes the jump into adult fiction. I do like books with lots of character backstory, so maybe this would work for me, though it's not the sort of "mystery" I tend to go for. It does look good, though.

  10. I haven't read any books by Deb Caletti, but I'm definitely a fan of heavy books that are related to sensitive subjects, and I love mystery books, so I might check this one out! Great review!
    - Farah @ MajiBookshelf

  11. I haven't read anything by this author either, but I am intrigued by the summary. Sounds like a very intense book. Reminds me a bit of the book Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn; I haven't read it yet but it's on my summer to-read list.


  12. Oh I read a book like this at the end of the year last year and the title is escaping me but I loved it. The husband goes missing and the wife is left to pick up the pieces. This is the best review I have seen of this book, most aren't loving it. Glad it was okay for you. Gosh, I wish I could remember that title.....

  13. I love backstories as well, but sometimes too much detail in that area can be overwhelming and just too much! After reading some fluff books, I think this would be a great book for me to get into "serious" books. Lovely review as always :)


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