'What the dead don't tell' by Inés Plana

A disappearance is always a disturbing event. People who seem to vanish into thin air, who left home, the car or work and never came back or left any trace. In What the dead don’t tell I wanted to explore and recreate a disappearance as enigmatic as so many.

I was impressed at the time by an award-winning television series, The leftovers, in which, due to a strange phenomenon, 140 million people, two percent of the world’s population, disappear abruptly while they are carrying out their daily activities: having breakfast as a family, driving a car or waiting at the bus stop. They volatilize, literally, and only their clothes remain, empty of the bodies they housed.

Those disturbing scenes inspired the one that occurs in my novel: Two people are about to have a fideuá dinner when both disappear without even starting to taste it. No signs of violence, no struggle, with the crockery and food intact on the tablecloth. The relationship between the two diners is also peculiar: both survived a plane crash a year ago. Otherwise they might never have met, they belong to very different worlds.

‘What the dead don’t tell’ by Inés Plana.

She is Rita Mari, a wealthy woman almost in her sixties, married with two children already on their own. She is the hostess of that dinner that never was. The setting: the garden of his mansion in a luxury development in Alasar, a coastal town near Valencia.

There she took refuge after the accident, in the house that belonged to her parents, returning to her Valencian roots and away from her husband and children, who live in Madrid, resigned to that emotional “flight”. His guest at the table is the young Spanish soldier Eduardo Molaro, Zaragozan, captain of the Army.

In the plane crash alone five people survived from a passage of eighty. Two of them were Rita and Eduardo. They met in the midst of confusion, in the apocalyptic landscape that the device drew after crashing and catching fire. They were traveling on a domestic flight in Thailand bound for the Buddhist city of Chiang Mai. The soldier lost his wife in the accident. They were newlyweds.

Rita’s three close friends with whom she shared the vacation did not survive either. Neither of them forgives themselves for being alive when those loved ones are no longer alive. The guilt and the emotional devastation that causes is the powerful bond that unites them. They have a hard time explaining that annihilating feeling to others without seeming ungrateful to stay alive. A year later, they disappear without a trace.

Neither of them forgives themselves for being alive when those loved ones are gone.

Guilt also shakes through the soul of Julian Tresser, captain in the Central Operational Unit, the UCO, the elite unit of the Judicial Police of the Civil Guard. He and his ex-partner, the psychiatrist Adelaide Mabran, suffered a tragedy whose pain they could not face together and for which Tresser feels partly responsible.

It is the month of August and you are on vacation in Fuerteventura when his commander requires him to travel to Valencia as soon as possible to investigate the disappearance of Rita and Eduardo, four days without news of them. She has no one to leave her daughter with. Allow, a very special fourteen-year-old girl: Tresser rescued her from the hell of child prostitution and legally adopted her. He wants to help her build a new life, although he knows that she will be a girl marked by that cruel and unfortunate past.

Agnes Flat.

It is not the most correct thing to do, as her commander emphasizes, but he decides to take her with him to Valencia and rent an apartment, not finding a babysitter who can take care of her in his absence. Luba accompanies her Fanny, in her twenties, her partner in torment in their tragic past.

Luba is a fragile being, it is the weakness of Captain Tresser, the only one allowed by this forty-seven-year-old man with a hermetic personality and a sullen and expeditious character, but also with that human greatness that drives him to fight for his daughter and that reminds us that solidarity and unconditional affection are also beauty and even poetry.

Julian Tresser He has only been in the UCO for six months and is going to face, perhaps, the most complex (and puzzling) case of his career. A disappearance without clues, with practically nothing to open a line of investigation. He is accompanied to Valencia by a team of four civil guards and also by Captain Amanda, a psychologist, criminologist and expert in preparing criminal profiles to guide investigators in their investigations.

And it is that the disappearance of Rita and Molaro has not been voluntary: there are indications that prove it, but little else. The rest is a mystery, an enigma that Tresser will have to decipher in an investigation strewn with unknowns, because What the dead don’t tell is a story in which almost nothing is what it seems, with pain, guilt, atonement and greed always hovering over the plot and its characters.

An exciting journey through reading through the winding paths of a police investigation almost in real time where action, adventure (a lot), drama and tragedy are mixed.

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