Cover Image: The Cold Vanish

The Cold Vanish

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I would have rated this a four star; however I found a spelling error, a missing word, and it seemed to jump around a lot which made it hard to focus at times. I feel like whenever I find things like this while reading it instantly rates lower. With that said this book was very interesting. I never knew how many people go missing in state parks and national forests. It’s amazing that even a fraction of the missing people are found safe. For those who aren’t found safe; unfortunately, are found deceased or are never located at all! One thing that really got me thinking in this book is how it really ends up being the families responsibility to continue searching after the case goes cold. How do you manage to maintain a job and a life AND take the time needed to search for your missing loved one? Some family’s can’t afford to quit their job or sell their house to fund the search. The other thing that blew my mind was the sheer power of a dogs smell, specifically a bloodhound. It the book, the author describes how a bloodhound owner and search and rescue member was demonstrating how good the dogs nose was. They went to the house of Jon Benet Ramsey and the dog hit on the smell of cadaver 25 years after the murder occurred. How incredible!
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“The Cold Vanish” is such a great book! While I do love non-fiction, I don’t read a lot of it. When I do it’s something I pick up here and there not usually reading it at a pace as that of fiction. This story reads like a novel which is one thing that made it so enjoyable to read. The subject matter is sad and it’s also fascinating. For me this subject is not one I’ve known much about and this book takes the reader into a world you can get to without having to travel. It is that well written and that interesting to learn about. I have not read it to the end, but if non-fiction can pull me in the same as my fiction does, then It’s an easy winner of a story. 

Thank you to Netgalley and Grand Central for the opportunity to read this book.
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This book is FANTASTIC. If you have heard, whether in passing or in active search, of the missing people in our National Parks you must read this book. It is too often that these stories turn into ghoulish ghost stories or wild conspiracy theories but Jon Billman, with his diligent research and in-field work, turns those stories in the head.

Jon moves between first-hand experience on searches, discussions with seasoned experts, and explorations of the greater 'why' behind it with ease. If you have read his Outdoor article and enjoyed it, you're going to love this book. 

The heartfelt, yet well-researched, approach to this book is an absolute must. If you've never even heard of this phenomenon, I think you could still enjoy this dynamic non-fiction narrative.
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The way that Billman weaves Jacob Gray's story through a proverbial forest of other, equally heartbreaking tales of those who go missing in public and wild places, was both fascinating and heartbreaking. It truly drove in the idea that it could literally happen to anyone and your chances of survival depend on anything from weather patterns, socioeconomic bracket, and which side of municipal jurisdiction lines you happened to cross.  My one complaint with this is that it didn't dive in to the issues around race and poverty that it could have, but I did read it right after the Gabi Pettito disappearance when this was top of mind and conversation across the US.
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A very interesting and well-written books on mysteries of sudden disappearances in the wild. I definitely recommend this book for those who have an interest on the subject; it absolutely scratched that itch for me, while still leaving me pondering further questions.
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Wow.... I could not put this down. I appreciate being able to receive this arc. This was an adventure. Thank you
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I saw the title and cover, then read the blurb, and my interest was peaked. I had to know what Jon Billman had to say in this true story of the missing across the country.

To tell the story, Jon Billman did walk in Jacob Gray’s footsteps, to a point.

The Schrödinger’s cat experiment…I had never heard the entire experiment, but the fact that it is neither, dead or alive, or both, dead and alive, until you open the box. I imagine it is the same with a missing person. I cannot imagine how the not knowing could mess with someone’s mind.

I do believe some of the problem is with those who are doing the investigating. The process has come a long way, but I think investigators can still get stuck on one person, zeroing in on them, making the suspect fit the evidence. Not only has technology aided the investigators, the investigators have become more sophisticated.

Unfortunately, there are still those who are out to make a name for themselves, to get elected to office. or just inept and unqualified for the job at hand. And the wilderness…such a large area where bodies could be easily hidden, make findng them like a needle in a haystack.

Cold Vanish…here one minute, gone the next. Aliens? Bigfoot? The Supernatural?

The book was written like a TV episode, hopping from one case to another, coming back again and again. It was confusing at times, but I do like that so many missings were shared.

I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of The Cold Vanish by Jon Billman.

See more at http://www.fundinmental.com
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Although there appears to be some controversy between the author and some family members of the book's main missing individual, I enjoyed this book regardless. It was quite compelling and I hated to set it aside to take time to sleep and work!

 Billman accompanies the father of a young man who vanished seemingly into thin air while on a bicycle trip. He writes in detail about the search, and witnesses all the heartache that occurs with every dead end. The father is so desperate that he entertains the suggestions of psychics and Bigfoot believers, but that doesn't lessen the story. To me, it showed the depth of his love for his son, because he was willing to literally try anything and everything to find him. 

In addition to the search, Billman provides statistics, anecdotes, and other case examples of people who went missing. It's fascinating stuff. Really - how does someone step off a paved walkway in broad daylight, while in the company of others, and suddenly disappear forever? Questions like this run through the book, and you feel the frustration mount along with the loved ones who were left behind, with each day that passes and no signs of life (or death) are found. This stays in your mind long after the book ends. You'll never look at a mountain or national park the same way again.
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The chilling effect given by these stories within this book are something else, especially given that they're real stories. I enjoyed reading them nonetheless.
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I enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would. Bit of a difficult read but such an interesting topic! It was well-researched, which means a lot coming from someone writing research papers every other week. I love true crime so when I saw this on the netgalley website I decided to request it, and I'm so glad I did.
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I had a hard time with this book.
I enjoy stories about missing people in natural spaces and mysterious nonfiction is definitely my forte, but I got a weird feeling about this book from the get go. The writing is lovely but the author spends a lot of time praising and bad mouthing Paulides. It seems to be coming from a personal place for him, and frankly it was uncomfortable.

Another aspect of the narration that was uncomfortable were the times the author tried to endure himself to a search. He would write about how he helped with this or that but it was always in distant terms, as if he had no real connection to what he experienced. One example I can give comes from early in the book where he talks about how he helped with a search and even had a t-shirt that once had the missing woman's face on it. Apparently it faded a lot and he tore up the shirt to use as rags. I don't understand what he hoped to convey with telling us about that. It just made him seem callous, along with all his jabs at people throughout the book and his little inserts about how he would have once made fun of people if he hadn't grown professionally.

I usually like when journalists try to endure you to their very real experiences in life, but this book is the exception to that. The author's attitude seems flippant and it makes it really hard to trust what he's saying.

Due to the fact that I was getting weird vibes from the book, I read some reviews just to see if anyone was experiencing the same issue. I was specifically looking for reviews that talked about the feel of the book and I ended up finding a few that said this book is filled with inaccuracies.

My trust in this book was broken completely from that point onward. I wanted to like it but I read nonfiction to deep dive into real events, accounts, and journeys. This just felt like shallow wading and speculation about the author himself

I hope other people have better experiences with this book and that I was misinformed about the inaccuracies. It definitely wasn't for me.
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**Thanks to the publisher for sending me this advance copy in exchange for an honest review** 

It truly is fascinating how many people disappear. Especially in the country’s National Parks.  In this book we follow a journalist’s journey with the father of a missing young man named Jacob who disappeared while entering a National Park.  The book discusses several missing persons cases but generally focuses on Jacob’s disappearance. One day Jacob left on his bike and was never seen alive ahead. So many questions follow his family especially his father go goes on the hunt. He dedicates his life doing searches and going over and over to the location where Jacob’s bike was eventually found abandoned. 

The stories of more hikers who have hiked into the abyss are discussed but not in great detail. A case from
This book that sticks out to me was the young runner who was 19 and went on an evening run with his friends one evening. He doesn’t make it back to camp and eventually a few months or years go by and he’s found on a mountain. It’s suspected that he fell and hit his head which caused his death. 

This book is also filled with some paranormal elements. There are psychics who get involved and people who believe I’m Bigfoot and Sasquatch who think some of the missing people have been kidnapped by them. Yes it sounds outlandish. But hey to each their own! 😂 

I enjoyed the overall premise of this book. Missing people will always be an interesting topic for me and I’m grateful to have been given the opportunity to read this new release. 

☠️☠️☠️/5
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While entertaining on some level, the information given and research provided on the cases… well, they just don’t add up. Inaccuracies abound, and some are just flat out known to be false but the general public. It was difficult for me to invest much in this knowing some information had been debunked. Pretending it was just a story didn’t help either; it just made it dull.
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“The Cold Vanish” explores what happens when people go missing from America’s wilderness without a trace. Whether an accident or foul play, their disappearance can leave loved ones and investigators lost without closure. But the wilderness doesn’t care and holds its secrets close.
Author Jon Billman tracks a number of these cases, often returning to that of Jacob Gray. Gray’s bike was found in Olympic National Park with no trace of him, leaving those he left behind wondering what happened to him. Billman does the same for numerous other missing person cases — both unsolved and solved — throughout the book, delving into some and devoting only a few lines to others. 
This should be a fascinating read, but it’s not. It quickly becomes repetitive as every story feels practically identical with Billman repeating himself multiple times throughout. It’s compelling in theory, but Billman fails to follow through as he jumps back and forth from Gray’s case and similar high-profile incidents to the search process, cryptids, mental health and psychics. He puts forth countless hypotheses without ever offering any sort of conclusion. The book itself feels disappointingly lackluster despite the premise being so promising. 
Thank you to the author, NetGalley and Grand Central Publishing for sharing this advance copy with me in exchange for my honest review.
2.5/5
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As someone who has always felt comfortable and safe in the woods, this book was eye-opening and scary. The Cold Vanish was written in a way that drew me in and kept me turning the pages. I learned so much about this topic that I am lucky enough not to have known previously, such as there is no national or international database kept of missing persons. No one knows how many people actually go missing in the wild each year, but it seems to be much higher than I could have imagined. 
The author, Jon Billman, formed a strong relationship with a father of a missing man, and this story was the guideposts and path through the book. It revealed the author’s humanity and compassion, as well as his ability to thoroughly investigate all aspects of the subject. He offered many examples of cold vanishes, as well as providing hope through stories of those who were found alive. He not only researched this topic, he actively went out in the wild on searches across the United States and Canada. I found chapter 9 particularly fascinating, when he discusses the most puzzling cases - those of people who vanish without a trace. There were so many parts of the book that I wanted to discuss with other readers, and I find myself continuously thinking about this book, even when I am doing other things. It is a really hard and sad subject but Billman never left me feeling hopeless or depressed. I have complete respect for his writing skills and the way he presented so many facts in such a heartfelt and loving way. I cannot recommend this book highly enough!! One of my favorite books I have read  in the last 5 years.
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First off, let me start by just saying... wow!

Anyone who knows me, knows I'm weirdly obsessed with true crime and specifically cold cases and missing persons. While I can admit that there are usually explanations for everything, some things just can't be explained and we will die never solving these mysteries. This idea takes up a great portion of THE COLD VANISH's narrative in summarizing particular missing persons cases throughout America's National Parks, as well as following the case of one Jacob Gray, who went missing while bicycling in Olympic National Park. 

Those of us who follow true crime are familiar with the stories of those who are lost and those who are looking for them. We sometimes forget that the people we are looking for once belonged to a family unit, or a friend group, and that once the public loses interest and stops looking, it never quite stops for those who feel that extreme loss by the disappearance. The story of Jacob's father was a particularly harrowing one. You go into this —at least I did — knowing nothing about the outcome of this story. You really go into the mind of someone who is looking for their child and at times, its really upsetting and terrifying. I couldn't imagine not knowing where my child was, or my parent, or my friend, or anyone really, and its hard to imagine having to push myself to my physical limits in finding them. Jacob's father, Randy, is in my opinion a hero. 

While I found many aspects of this story intriguing (mainly the chronicling of multiple stories of similar disappearances) there were parts of this book that I found overworked and very tiresome and this came mostly from the viewpoint of the author, and is more of a defect within me and has nothing to do with the author or the way he writes— this was just something that I didn't quite enjoy and felt I was chugging along slowly because of it. 

Would I recommend this book? Sure! There are aspects that many might like, but I can also see how this book might be misunderstood or disliked. I'd like to see more of this 'genre', for lack of a better term, in new releases coming up soon because it definitely is a very interesting topic. 

Thank you to Netgalley and Grand Central Publishing for a digital copy in exchange for an honest review!
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I received a copy of this book from Netgalley. 

DNF at 20% 


I could not get into this book. I did not find the facts to be accurate or believable.
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I received a copy from Netgalley for free in exchange for my review. 

The Cold Vanish is a study in missing people but not just any missing people. It looks at those who go missing in National Parks and other wilderness areas.

The main focus of the book is Jacob Gray who went missing in Olympic National Park. In between the story of the search for Jacob the author covers other missing people. I enjoyed the format but it may be off putting to others as the main story does bounce around.

Billman does touch upon psychics and cryptids such as Bigfoot. He mentions them because they do come up in every missing person case but it's clear he doesn't think Bigfoot is kidnapping people. It seems it's mentioned only to highlight how things can appear strange when a body is found months or years later in an area previously searched. 

Yes, it is strange but mother nature has a way of hiding things. Recently during a search for a missing hiker at the Grand Canyon another body was found of a man who went missing in 2015. His body was found at a popular point on the south rim. His clothes and the angle made it difficult to see. Strange? Yes but definitely not Bigfoot. 

Families often want an answer but unfortunately there isn't always one. 

Being a trail runner and hiker, I understand how easy it is to get disoriented or lose a trail. How one could be out longer than expected and run out of food and water. To not be prepared for the elements. Living in Phoenix, I see the tourists that don't get the summer heat and think they can hike at 10 am with a small water bottle. Even locals sometimes underestimate the power of nature.

The important thing about this book is it highlights the issues around wilderness search and rescue plus our law enforcement's general attitude of adults who go missing. Yes, adults can choose to walk away from their lives but how many really do? 

The National Park Services has a list of missing persons on their website. The Park Predators podcast highlights true crime in National Parks. Some unsolved. Some involving missing people, including a park ranger. 

I have read many of Billman's articles before. I have always enjoyed his writing. He writes beautiful passages but also presents the facts. He brings attention to missing persons cases, which to me is always a good thing. The more we are aware, the more we can change how things are handled and hopefully find more of the missing. He makes you care.

I would recommend this book to people who like true crime and have an avid interest in the outdoors.
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This is the story about vanished... The heartbreak they leave behind, their families and friends...
The focus is mainly on the story of the disappearance of Jacob Gray in 2017 and the remarkable lenghts his father is willing to go to, to try and find him... Never losing hope...
Intertwined is the story of Amy Bechtel, young runner who was preparing for a 10k run. The question still remaining is whether her husband Steve had anything to do with it or not... He refused to take polygraph test which sparked suspicion among people and Amy's family are convinced he was guilty... Unfortunately to this day we srill don't have an answer.
Amy is also suspected to be another one of the victims of Great  Basin serial killer. 
The story also takes a loik at a possible mental health problems Jacob may have had. 
This novel really made me think about the vast territories one can get lost in... And gave me chills thinking how missing person cases are hard on everyone involved...
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This was an intriguing and thought provoking book. Being that it’s non fiction I would steer clear of this one if you have fears about being in the woods. I will say I enjoy everything about the woods and this did t deter me from e er going camping or anything like that again. 

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the digital galley. All opinions are my own.
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