Had it not been for Gone Girl, I think I might have liked Deb Caletti’s first “adult” novel He’s Gone a great deal more.
Dani Keller wakes up on a typical Sunday morning to find her husband has gone missing. They had a mild argument the night before and Dani had a bit too much to drink at a party for her husband’s company. Initially not concerned, she assumes he’s out blowing off steam and will come back soon. However, as the hours stretch on and he won’t answer his cell phone and she discovers his car and his car keys have been left behind, Dani slowly begins to worry something more is going on than meets the eye.
Comparisons to Gone Girl are probably inevitable and I think that’s a bit unfair to both books. But it’s going to happen given that the two share a similar starting point for the narrative. He’s Gone works well when it’s filling in the details of how Dani and her husband met (they were both married to someone else at the time and began an affair) and we are slowly given glimpses of their life together. Where the novel tends to grinds its gears a bit too much are in the present situation as Dani reflects on their current life and marriage and the implications of whether her husband has left her or something more sinister is in play.
It all leads up to an ending that I found rather anti-climatic. I can see what Caletti is trying to achieve, but I’m not necessarily sure He’s Gone achieves it. A lot of this comes down to the fact that as a first-person narrator, Dani is a bit too reflective and honest with us. There’s a lot of telling us things that have happened or are happening.
In short, He’s Gone was good, but not great. I was hoping it would be something more.