1. VANISHED introduces the character of Nick Heller, and was planned as the first book of a series (BURIED SECRETS is the second Nick Heller novel, and Nick’s also appeared in two short stories). Are your expectations different of a book if you know it’s part of a series? How might you have read this book differently if you didn’t know Nick Heller would live to appear in a sequel?
2. What do you think of Nick Heller? Is he someone you’d want to work with, be friends with, have a romantic relationship with? Why or why not?
3. Thriller protagonists like Nick Heller are almost always single. Why is that? How would a wife or a girlfriend change Nick’s behavior? What if he had kids, or even a dog?
4. Which characters in VANISHED would you want or expect to see in future series entries? What questions remain unanswered at the end of the book?
5. What does Lauren really want from Nick? What’s motivating her in general?
6. How does Nick’s relationship (or lack of a relationship) with his father influence his relationship with his nephew, Gabe?
7. Nick’s nephew Gabe is working on a graphic novel called The Cowl. Joseph Finder commissioned a real-life version of The Cowl from Brian Azzarello and Benito Gallego, which you can see here. What can comic books/graphic novels do that novels can’t?
8. Were there places in the book where you thought Nick made bad decisions, or decisions you wouldn’t have made? What would you have done instead?
9. How important is the Washington, DC setting to VANISHED? Is this a story that could have happened anywhere else?
10. Whom would you call the true villain(s) of VANISHED, and why? What’s the difference between a real villain and someone who does the wrong thing for the right reason?