Also by this author: Watching You, The Family Upstairs
Published by Atria Books on September 7, 2021
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
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FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
I’m a big fan of Lisa Jewell’s storytelling so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on her latest mystery, The Night She Disappeared. I knew I would be in for a wild ride and I was not disappointed.
It’s 2017, and 19 year old Tallulah and her boyfriend have left their baby with Tallulah’s mom, Kim, while they go out for a much-needed night on the town. When they don’t return home, Kim becomes frantic because it’s just not like Tallulah to be irresponsible. After calling all her daughter’s friends and learning only that Tallulah had decided to go to a party at Dark Place, a mysterious house in the nearby woods, Kim decides it’s time to call the police. The police investigate but there’s just no sign of either of them, dead or alive.
Two years later, Sophie moves to the same town. Sophie’s husband has just taken a job as headmaster at a local boarding school and they’ll be living in a house on campus. One day while wandering in the woods around the school, Sophie comes across a note affixed to a tree that reads “DIG HERE.” The note looks pretty new so, intrigued, Sophie does as instructed, unaware that she is about to uncover new evidence in Tallulah’s missing persons case.
My favorite part of this story is how Jewell lets the pieces of this mystery come together through dual timelines. The 2017 timeline shows us both the lead up to what ultimately happens with Tallulah and her boyfriend, as well as the initial police investigation as witnessed through the eyes of Kim, who is determined to find out what happened to her daughter. I was so heartbroken for Kim because I just can’t even imagine how she could go on from day to day, raising her grandson alone and wondering everyday what had become of his mother. I was also very sympathetic to Tallulah herself because it becomes clear she had some pretty major issues that she was dealing with up until the time of her disappearance.
The second timeline, which Sophie really kicks into motion with her digging, focuses on what the new evidence brings to light as Sophie decides to do a little sleuthing on her own. Sophie is an author of cozy mysteries who is currently suffering from writer’s block so she goes into this thinking it might help inspire her to write. She has no idea what she is getting herself into as she slowly starts to put together the pieces and gets closer to the truth than anyone has gotten thus far.
It’s definitely a slow burn when it comes to learning the fate of Tallulah and her boyfriend, but the journey is filled with plenty of twists and turns, riveting drama, ever increasing suspense and tension, and a wonderfully intricate plot that will keep you guessing until the very end. I’ve read four of Jewell’s thrillers so far and The Night She Disappeared is my favorite. I read it in a single day and just could not put it down until I had answers, which is what I look for in a great mystery. If you’re looking for a read that will keep you turning pages until the wee hours of the morning, The Night She Disappeared is the book for you.