By Jordan Gray, Harlequin, $7.99, 251 pages

10Set in the seaside town of Blackpool, amateur sleuths Michael and Molly Graham are dismayed when their friend, Dylan, is accused of the murder of a local drug dealer. Oddly annoyed by having to get involved, Michael and Molly start investigating further and uncover more secrets and conspiracies involving local lore, history and possible buried treasure.

There are some video-game based books that are well-written or, barring that, simply fun. Vanished, based on the Mystery Case Files hidden picture games, is neither of these things. Missing an opportunity to build on the game’s creepy settings (haunted houses and creepy circuses); the author does not manage to build tension or atmosphere in the novel. The characters as well, are bland and forgettable and the entire book feels like a Scooby Doo episode, minus the man in the mask. It is disappointing that the author took such a creative concept and provided such a lackluster story. Even fans of the games (as this reviewer is) will find it hard to enjoy this book.

Reviewed by Barbara Cothern