On a gorgeous England summer’s eve, after a night spent partying with a new friend, a young, single mother and her boyfriend disappear from the massive Dark Place estate, never to be seen or heard from again. Rumors abound: Perhaps the couple, tired of their adult responsibilities including their son have simply run off to start new lives. 

Whatever the reason, they’ve vanished without a trace; that is, until a year later when a mystery writer, who has just moved into a nearby cottage, goes for a walk through the woods and stumbles upon a sign that reads, “DIG HERE.” Could this be the missing piece, the thing that could finally explain what happened to the missing couple? And what exactly is buried underneath?

As clues from that night begin to surface, it becomes evident that someone, somehow, knows something about the night they disappeared. But who? And why are they only coming forward now?

A DUAL TIMELINE FOR DOUBLE THE SUSPENSE 

Although The Night She Disappeared (Atria Books) is a bit of a slow read to start, author Lisa Jewell does a fantastic job of setting the scene and building the suspense just enough so that readers will want to continue turning pages. The chapters alternate between past and present, from the days leading up to the night Tallulah Murray and her boyfriend disappeared to the point where the protagonist, Sophie, finds herself on the tail of what was considered a closed case thanks, in part, to the clues left in ways that strangely mirror one of her recent books. 

There is the presence of a toxic love triangle between Tallulah, her boyfriend, and the character Scarlett Jacques. Scarlett is a bit of an enigma. While we don’t actually know her, we feel as though we’ve all known a person like her: manipulative, deceptive, cunning. Someone able to play the part of the victim to her advantage while simultaneously pitting those around her against each other. Scarlett is not likable in the least, and you’ll find yourself asking, “Tallulah, why are you with either one of these people?” But Jewell knows exactly what she’s doing, and although readers might think they have the ending figured out, there’s a surprising twist they won’t expect. 

A THRILLER THAT ADDRESSES LARGER ISSUES

Of course, I enjoyed the book’s suspense, but it’s the light Jewell sheds on issues such as psychological, domestic and emotional abuse* that adds substance and makes this thriller memorable. Her depiction of these topics is mild compared to some reads, but Jewell definitely gives the reader some food for thought about what can happen in the most extreme cases when love, or what someone thinks is love, goes wrong. 

If you are someone who enjoys a twisty, psychological thriller that will have you turning pages late into the night and guessing up until the very end, I highly recommend adding The Night She Disappeared, to your September reading list. For those who enjoy authors such as Harlen Coben, J.T. Ellison, Peter Swanson and Stephanie Wrobel, Lisa Jewell is a great addition to your library.

*Content Warning: Mentions of rape, mild domestic/psychological abuse and drugs.


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Lisa Jewell is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of nineteen novels, including The Family Upstairs and Then She Was Gone, as well as Invisible Girl and Watching You. Her novels have sold over 5 million copies internationally, and her work has also been translated into twenty-nine languages. Lisa lives in London with her husband, two daughters and various pets. She writes a minimum of one thousand words every day, typically at a local café with no internet access.