Atmospheric. Suspenseful. Addictive. Tension-filled.
Sera has an addiction to listening to true crime podcasts. Rachel is the podcast host of her favourite show. Rachel’s podcast focuses on cases of missing women. Sera listens to each episode repeatedly and knows the cases by heart. When Rachel herself disappears, Sera feels lost. Sera is drawn to Rachel’s small town to search for clues on why the one person who is searching for missing women is now missing herself.
What a fantastic debut thriller! The author brilliantly incorporates pieces of podcast episodes into the narrative, both at the start of each chapter as an introduction and also throughout the storyline while Sera is referring back to episodes she is remembering. This flowed extremely well and kept the overall podcast theme strong. I found I became more engrossed by the book as I read further. After the halfway point, I had a hard time putting it down.
Sera was an outstanding character! She was flawed yet strong, vulnerable yet determined, alone yet powerful. I thought she was a brilliant main character who I loved rooting for. Each and every secondary character added insightful and clever layers to the storyline. I was suspicious of everyone and everything! The atmosphere was dark, eerie and foreboding. I was creeped out more than a few times but simply couldn’t put the book down.
“Would anyone look for me? Would anyone care? If I Disappeared…”
If I Disappear is an ambitious story that takes a unique spins while playing on that “women who disappear” “crazy women” trope and layers in some underlining themes, with women’s treatment within our society. We see how we can become desensitized to the troubles of others and can find entertainment in that. It defies those harmful tropes here by giving a voice to seen and unseen women along with missing and forgotten women while exploring how we can feel invisible when under threat. It’s a unique story with a usual narrative here that also gives a different spin to crime pod storylines.
I enjoyed how the story is told in a second-person narrative from podcast listener Sera to podcast host Rachel. I loved Sera, and she is a strong character here with her own conflict, goals, and flaws while she searches for missing Rachel. She creates plenty of tension and suspense while she questions a few suspects leaving us with many questions of our own. I loved how she challenged gender roles that gave the story a feminism feel. The other characters added to the strength of Sera’s character while adding more depth to the story. Sera does a bit of pill-popping, and every time she popped one I cringed and was annoyed taking away some enjoyment to the story for me. I was disappointed that added a harmful trope to the story with the “damaged pill-popping female” and a poor representation for mental health. Ok, I know that’s probably overthinking it a bit.
At times, the pace is slow going, and I wanted the story to move forward faster. I mostly listened to this one, and my mind wandered away a few times, but I didn’t miss much when that happened. Making this one an easy one to listen too. I enjoyed the narrator to the audiobook and enjoyed listening to her voice.
Things did go sideways for me with the ending. It felt like the author forgot to add the clues along the way and then got to the end and made up the conclusion by the characters telling us how the story ends.
I highly recommend this one on audiobook.
We received copies from the publisher on NetGalley