He's Gone is, I believe, the first adult fiction book from Deb Caletti, who has previously published several YA titles. She made a good jump here, and this novel didn't have any leftover YA elements at all. What I mean is, Caletti captured the tone and spirit of her adult characters just as well as she does in her teenage characters in the YA books I've read. This isn't a "good first attempt at adult literary fiction", it's just a good adult literary fiction novel, period.
That's not to say I didn't have my qualms with this book. It felt very slow-moving at times, which was also a complaint I had with another book I read by this author. But at the same time, I don't think the plot and the mystery are really the central elements of this story when all is said and done. It's a very character-driven, introspective book, mainly focused on Dani and her thought process as she struggles to uncover and understand what happened to her husband.
Dani and Ian's story, their adulterous beginnings and less-than-picture-perfect relationship, is revealed to the reader in bits at a time, through flashbacks as Dani processes her current situation. She reflects on their history and the psychology of their relationship to try to piece together what might have happened to Ian--did he leave her as he left his first wife? Did he choose to just disappear without a trace? Was there a side to him she knew nothing about? Or was he a victim, did something horrible actually happen to him? I found Dani's thought process--her fears, worries, and insecurities--pretty fascinating. He's Gone definitely doesn't make light of the issues that linger in a relationship with such tumultuous beginnings.
And the answer to the mystery? Well, I wasn't blown away, but again, I'm not sure that was meant to be the real focus of the book anyway.
Give this book a chance when you're ready to dig into something a little more