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The Day She Disappeared


The Day She Disappeared

Christobel Kent’s previous thrillers have garnered comparisons to the works of Daphne du Maurier, and for good reason. Complicated heroines, dark secrets and isolated British landscapes define her sophisticated thrillers, just as they did in du Maurier’s. Kent’s latest novel, THE DAY SHE DISAPPEARED, continues this tradition in a multilayered, atmospheric thriller that explores themes of familial and community interconnectedness.

Natalie has always felt a mixture of pity and envy for her fellow barmaid, Beth. Beth, with her ample figure and flirtatious attitude, could take a different patron home every night (and sometimes does), while the more serious Nat has been in a relationship with the same man for nearly a decade. But soon after Nat’s breakup with that steady boyfriend, Beth disappears, leaving behind only a cryptic series of text messages. According to her friends, it’s not out of character for Beth to fall in love with some new guy, cut all prior ties, and start over somewhere new. But the more Nat thinks about Beth’s text messages --- not to mention the increasingly troubling clues she finds elsewhere --- the more she’s confident that Beth has come to harm.

"...a multilayered, atmospheric thriller that explores themes of familial and community interconnectedness."

And Nat is not the only one with suspicions. Her favorite customer at the bar --- an elderly gentleman named Victor --- is convinced that the drowning of a local young man is somehow connected to Beth’s disappearance. He has seen something, but after suffering what looks like a stroke, he is not in a position to share his theories with anyone, even his beloved Nat. Suspects are abundant --- including a researcher living off the grid, a cameraman shooting a film set near the town’s evocative river, a busboy at the pub, and even Nat’s ex. How can Nat put the pieces together when no one takes her investigation seriously, and when there might be dangers anywhere?

Through multiple viewpoints --- including Nat’s, Victor’s and the faceless perpetrator’s --- Kent’s narration underscores her themes. In part, the novel is about secrets --- about what information we choose to share with those closest to us and what we decide to obscure. It’s also about the difficulties of knowing who to trust, the pull of even the most imperfect family, and the challenge of starting over with or as someone new. Largely, though, THE DAY SHE DISAPPEARED is about the connections that bind its characters, some of which are not immediately apparent, and about how the choices they make and the actions they take affect those around them and their broader community, sometimes in surprising ways.

Reviewed by Norah Piehl on March 16, 2018

The Day She Disappeared
by Christobel Kent