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Vanishing Trail: The Taking of Jonathan Bishop

Vanishing Trail: The Taking of Jonathan Bishop - Stephen Kosa 3.5 Stars - Simple, yet Compelling

At its core, Vanishing Trail is a simple story about loss. It is a reminder that the whatever treasure we are seeking is often in the place we least expect.

The story centers around Jake Bishop, a single father and family law and Estate sole practitioner. After the tragic death of his wife, Jake and his young son move back to the small town in which Jake grew up. It is here where he rebuilds his life while struggling to come to terms with his loss.

What I liked

The Main Character

In reading this novel, I have broken one of my own reading rules. I do not read books about lawyers. In this case, I am glad that I made an exception. The character of Jake Bishop was one which who I could personally relate. Like Bishop, I am also a lawyer in private practice with a specialty in Family Law and Estates. I also have young children of the same age as the character`s child. While reading the book, I felt that this could have happened to me. I am referring of course to the disappearance of his son. I am not giving anything away when I say this as I think the title of the book lets you in on that secret.

The Writing Style

The author employs a simple and straight forward writing style. It is unpretentious and truly reflect the main character, simple but intelligent.

What I didn`t like

Slow Plot Development

The title of the book leads the reader to expect certain events and the fact is, such events do occur. The trouble is that these events do not occur until nearly halfway through the book. While the author uses some interesting plotlines and devices, i.e. mysterious archeological finds, international smuggling and international villains, we are only vaguely given hints as to what would transpire in the latter half of the book. It is as if we reading two books, this first being a simple general fiction piece about a small town family lawyer and the second half is a manhunt and a characters journey to find peace.


While I laud the authors simple and accessible writing style, the plot does not hold up to the majority of mass market thrillers. I waivered between categorizing this book as a simple General Fiction novel or a Thriller. While I liked the character of Jake Bishop, it felt as if he was simply along for the ride. I don't think he can properly be termed the hero of this book but rather the victim. Ultimately, this is not criticism of the book. Given it is being marketed as a mystery and or thriller, it is simply lacking in some elements the reader will expect.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. I was engaged in the story. While the plot and mystery were not complex, I liked the characters and was invested in their well being. It is a simple read that I recommend.