Make Me Disappear
reviewed by Cara DiCostanzo
“This book is for anyone who can identify with a relationship that seems good in the beginning and looks clean on the surface but evolves into something sinister. Sociopaths and narcissists walk among us, and they’re harder to identify than most people realize.” –Jessica Payne, Author’s note.
This book is so much fun. I loved every minute of it, reading it from cover to cover in one sitting. I even laughed out loud at many parts, though essentially this book is about a kidnapping. Someone coined the term “disbelief suspenders” and it fits this book perfectly. Make Me Disappear is so over the top that you have to put your “disbelief suspenders” on to make it work. It is completely crazy.
Noelle, a cardiac nurse, has been dating Dr. Daniel Ashcroft, an anesthesiologist for a while. At first, everything was perfect. Daniel is everything Noelle could want in a boyfriend; handsome, attentive, and rich. But as time goes on, he becomes more and more controlling; putting a keystroke app on her computers and phone, installing cameras in her house and controlling her work schedule to fit with his. There is nothing Noelle can do that Daniel won’t know about. She even believes he is somehow involved in the death of her beloved aunt Beatrice and has made threats regarding her cousin Kari’s pregnancy. She wants to break free but wants nothing to happen to her cousin. One day, trapped inside an internet café during a rainstorm, she sees an ad for an extreme kidnapping site. You pay ex-felons to come and kidnap you.
According to the author’s note, at the end of the book, these companies actually exist. Noelle plans her own kidnapping. She’ll be taken out of Seattle and send word to Kari when she is safe. One night, when she is getting ready to meet Daniel for dinner, a masked man comes into her bedroom, grabs her, and puts her in the trunk of his car. Noelle is finally free. But she soon realizes she has truly been kidnapped, by someone else rather than the company she actually hired to kidnap her. But who has ordered her kidnapped? She believes it is Daniel who had her taken to scare her. But is it? Who else would benefit from her being kidnapped?
As Noelle forms an alliance with her kidnapper, Jack, who has his own secrets and revenge on Daniel, she intends to make her boyfriend’s life difficult by doing little things such as turning off the heat in his house and stealing his car. When she finds out he is preying on her pregnant cousin, her annoyance turns to rage. Things never go to plan and soon Noelle and Jack are playing gotcha with Daniel, pursuing each other from California through Oregon to Seattle. It all becomes a little hilarious and nutty. We find out she is as devious as anyone else in the book. If you love karma, this is your book. Make Me Disappear is told from two points of view; Noelle and Daniel. Daniel’s point of view was frightening, as the reader realizes he does not know his sociopathic tendencies. Everything he did made perfect sense to him.
The ending of this book really takes the cake. Jessica Payne wrapped it up perfectly, and the reader is stunned. The characters are funny, interesting, and more devious than the next one. What a debut! I can’t wait to see what Payne comes up with next!