The Night She Disappeared
reviewed by Chelsea Hofmann
Lisa Jewell has done it again. It all begins with the disappearance of two responsible parents one night. Though only 19, they are not the type to run off, so when they go missing without a trace it leaves the community shocked. They leave behind grieving families and no clues at all.
One year after the disappearance, a mystery writer moves to the edge of the woods that border the lavish home the teens disappeared from. Known locally as Dark Place, the estate holds intrigue for the writer, especially after she finds a handwritten sign outside her new home that says “DIG HERE”.
What follows is a twisted mystery with Jewell’s signature technique of multiple point of views and multiple timelines that slowly reveal information. The story switches perspectives between the daughter Tallulah in 2016 before she goes missing, her grieving mother Kim in 2017 right after she goes missing, and mystery writer Sophie in 2018 after she moves to the area. Each person gives specific information that comes together to create a mystery worth solving.
I was hooked from the very beginning, and each chapter leads you deeper and deeper into the mystery. I couldn’t help but root for both Tallulah and Sophie, connecting with them both right away. The writing draws you in to both the characters and the plot, and I felt that I was part of this story. I love when I can cheer for a character, and a strong leading woman protagonist is an extra positive for me.
The story is well-written, evenly paced, and has a wonderful setting. An amateur sleuth mystery is always fun and this one was especially atmospheric. I loved the mix of the academic setting and the creepy Dark Place. I would call this a slow burn mystery, but never too slow so that I lost interest. Jewell’s writing style is captivating and The Night She Disappeared is my new favorite from her. I recommend this book to armchair detectives and those who love a satisfying ending.
Thank you to Atria Books and Lisa Jewell for my ARC of this book. Opinions are my own. The Night She Disappeared comes out on September 7, 2021.
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