The Disappearing Act by Catherine Steadman, 5 Stars

I remember reading There’s Something in the Water. All four hours of it. Because I sat down, read, and didn’t get up until it was done. And is was soooo good. One of those super satisfying reads that feels like a cold and refreshing long (yes, four hours long), drink of water. The kind of book that when you put it down, you are kind of sad that you just inhaled it and didn’t savor it. But who has time for that?

So of course, I had to read The Disappearing Act. And although it is a very different book, it was also so so good. And I’m sad it’s over too! Interested fun side note on Catherine Steadman, she was Mabel Lane Fox in Downton Abbey. And it seems a little unfair to be beautiful, a talented actress, and an impeccable writer, doesn’t it a bit? But I do kind of love her and her books so we’ll let this one slide.

From the Publisher:

Once a year, actors from across the globe descend on the smog and sunshine of Los Angeles for pilot season. Every cable network and studio is looking to fill the rosters of their new shows, enticing a fresh batch of young hopefuls—anxious, desperate, and willing to do whatever it takes to make it. Careers will be made, dreams will be realized, stars will be born. And some will be snuffed out.

British star Mia Eliot has landed leading roles in costume dramas in her native country, but now it’s time for Hollywood to take her to the next level. Mia flies across the Atlantic to join the horde of talent scrambling for their big breaks. She’s a fish out of water in the ruthlessly competitive arena of back-to-back auditioning. Then one day she meets Emily, another actress from out of town and a kindred spirit. Emily is friendly and genuine and reassuringly doesn’t seem to be taking any of it too seriously. She stands out in a conveyor-belt world of fellow auditionees. But a simple favor takes a dark twist when Emily disappears and Mia realizes she was the last person to see her. And when a woman knocks on Mia’s door the following day claiming to be Emily and isn’t the woman Mia remembers at all, Mia is deeply troubled.

All Mia has to go on is the memory of a girl she met only once . . . and the suffocating feeling that something terrible has happened. Worse still, the police don’t believe her when she claims the real Emily has gone missing. So Mia is forced to risk the role of a lifetime to try to uncover the truth about Emily, a gamble that will force her to question her own sanity as the truth goes beyond anything she could ever have imagined.

Actress and author Catherine Steadman has written a gripping thriller set in a world close to home that asks the question: In a city where dreams really do come true, how far would you go to make the unreal real?

My Review:

You know how sometimes it takes a little while to get into a book? The Disappearing Act is not that. I think I was completely engrossed on page 3 or 4. When we meet Mia, she totally reminds me of the actress that plays Mary in Downton Abbey. Beautiful and famous, but not as aware of it maybe. And I have no idea if the actress is that way in real life, it’s just how I picture her.

But she is a big deal. She’s a bigger deal that she realizes. And Mia has arrived in Los Angeles to give the glitzy Hollywood life a try for just a bit before traveling back over the pond home to the UK. So she’s kind of overly trusting and totally down to Earth in a town that maybe doesn’t value that. And it gets her into a bit of trouble.

First she helps out another actress (oh the horror), but then finds herself stuck in a really strange and somewhat surreal situation that she can’t get out of, or figure out how exactly she got stuck in.

I recommend The Disappearing Act to fans of Steadman and suspense, along with people who like a bit of an insiders taste into the going ons of stardom and Hollywood. I will warn you, it seems much more everyday that we might imagine it. But I can total understand that in that world, it must be hard to know who to trust. Because everyone is an actor and ultimately, most people are out for themselves.

Lucky you, The Disappearing Act comes out tomorrow (June 8) and you can snap up what Entertainment Weekly is calling “One of the best thrillers of the summer” ASAP. Special thanks to Netgalley and Ballantine Books for an advanced e-galley in exchange for my honest review. Get your copy:


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