I just finished Vanish by Tom Pawlik. Pawlik won the Operation First Novel 2006 contest sponsored by the Christian Writers Guild, and the novel is the result. I thought I’d review it, since other reviews are very hard to find. It’s a short book, so it will be a short review.
Three completely different people, a lawyer, a mechanic, and a former model, wake up one morning to find that everyone else in the world has vanished (hence the title of the book.) They wander terrified in the foggy world until they find each other and try to find answers to where everyone else went. Most of the book involves running from faceless alien beings that seem impervious to weapons. At one point, the aliens attack their stalled car, pressing their featureless faces against the glass until it cracks. I definitely shouldn’t have read the book alone at night.
I give him points for a complicated and interesting plot, a knack for creepiness, and solid pacing. He loses points for a premise I just couldn’t accept, characters that could have been more developed, and some awkward and flat dialog. I can’t really explain my problem with the premise without revealing the ending, but suffice to say, most of my friends will probably have the same problem.
If you like sci-fi, Vanish is solid Christian sci-fi. It’s pretty short, an easy read, and genuinely creepy. I hope Pawlik keeps writing.