Kathryn Mackel’s Vanished is a suspense story that begins the "Christian Chiller" series.
Fictional Barcester, Massachusetts, is the convergence point for underground high-speed trains. The trains aren't running commercially yet, just doing tests, but the first real trip will be in the near future and will involve the President of the US.
A secret service agent arrives shortly before a (literally) explosive incident that alters life in Barcester for good. (Or maybe for bad; it's hard to tell.) We get various viewpoints for all this:
Jason Logan, local cop who has pretty much lost his daughter in a custody battle. He's also got some hangups from the distant past as a Korean orphan.
Kaya de los Santos, local medic on the verge of being run out of town for a good deed.
Ben (Kaya's son), a clueless teen with good intentions and a knack for bad decisions.
Jonathan Percy and Chloe Walter, husband-and-wife physics geeks who want to put Barcester on the map just as someone else decides to take it off entirely. They're experimenting in the train tunnels when the not-truly-identified Bad Thing happens.
Alexis Latham, local store owner, gun owner, and all-around tough broad--unfortunately the standard horror-movie type who attracts monsters for no discernible reason.
Luther, The Villain. (You have five seconds to hiss The Villain.) Actually, Luther's just a guy who goes around planting bombs, shooting people, and tossing grenades. Everyone needs a hobby, and having something to do keeps him out of trouble. Also, he is not the ultimate bad guy but just his puppet.
This being a modern novel, we get to shift from one to another like a ping-pong ball in a blender. There's a lot of action going on at the same time, of course, and several non-viewpoint characters who get to be clever and/or die.
The one character that does neither one is The Mist. After Whatever happens, a large chunk of Barcester is surrounded by an eerie mist that wells up from a hole in the ground and covers the area like an umbrella. If you try to pass through The Mist, you get a generally depressing mystical (not a typo) experience. (It extends underground, too. So there.)
Anyway--tomorrow we'll look at the good points of the story, as usual, and then the bad points the next day.
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