Book Review: The Disappearing Act

This is the third book Catherine Steadman has published (Something in the Water, Mr. Nobody), and I wasted no time downloading it on Audible. I toggle back and forth with books I read in-hand and books I prefer to listen to while running, cleaning, driving, etc. Catherine Steadman is an actress and therefore narrates her own work. Her voice is as enjoyable to listen to as Carey Mulligan’s voice was for The Midnight Library.

But enough about that. Let’s get to the plot.

Mia is an English actress who needs a break from London. Despite her growing success and BAFTA nomination, a recent breakup leaves England feeling a little claustrophobic. Off to sunny L.A. she goes for pilot season. Her prospects are good! She feels like she’s finally on her way. However, everything goes off script when she meets Emily at an audition, an American girl who seems a little disheveled but mostly nice. Mia considers this girl to be a potential first friend, so when Emily asks Mia to feed the meter for her rental car while she goes in for her audition, Mia agrees.

Problem is – Emily doesn’t return. She literally vanishes into thin air, and no one in the casting office has any idea who Emily is. This singular event puts Mia on the case to find Emily, if only to return her rental car keys and wallet. Soon Mia learns that she’s injected herself into a much bigger world of illusions than she anticipated.

Catherine Steadman’s writing style and narration is entirely in line with what I enjoy. She is so good at the slow and steady build of tension paired with the careful but intentional untying of knots. She is good at crafting a thriller. I think Something in the Water is my favorite of her three thus far, but The Disappearing Act bumped Mr. Nobody as my second favorite. I enjoyed the story from start to finish.

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