Watch Me Disappear
Booklist Reviews 2017 June #1
*Starred Review* Billie wasn't always a Berkeley supermom. She had a tumultuous childhood, a rebellious adolescence, even a felonious period in her early twenties. When she met Jonathan, a straitlaced technology editor, she finally felt ready to settle down. After she and Jonathan got married and had their daughter, Olive, Billie felt the stirrings of independence again. It started gradually—getting in the car and driving to Utah after a fight, then returning with an armful of groceries as if no time had passed—but her solo hiking trips and weekends away had become more frequent. When Billie disappears while hiking, police only find a shattered cell phone and a hiking boot near the trail. With little else to go on, Jonathan and Olive reassemble what they truly know about Billie—and decide if they're willing to learn the whole truth. Like a darker, meatier Where'd You Go, Bernadette (2012), Brown's latest explores the messy inner life of a mother just starting to feel invisible to her own family. This brilliantly layered novel is full of twists and turns, tender and biting and vibrant. Readers who can't get enough of the "Girl"-type suspense trend will be more than satisfied with this tautly paced domestic drama. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.
LJ Reviews 2017 April #2
Essayist and journalist Brown's third novel (This Is Where We Live; All We Ever Wanted Was Everything) explores a family shaken when wife and mother Billie disappears on a solo hiking trip and is presumed dead. Jonathan mourns his restless wife, while adolescent daughter Olive starts seeing her mother in visions and is convinced that she is alive. The duo's journey of grief is delicately handled, alongside their suspenseful search for the truth about Billie. But as they uncover multiple secrets from her past, they find out that you never really know someone. With romantic subplots and surprise elements, including an unexpected finale, this evenly paced novel is multilayered enough to have wide appeal. A domestic suspense novel along the lines of A.S.A. Harrison's The Silent Wife or Shari Lapena's The Couple Next Door, this has less overt violence and a more emotional story at its heart. The mystery behind Billie's disappearance is subtle and intertwined with the idea of family and identity.
PW Reviews 2017 May #4
Almost a year after failing to return from a solo hiking trip, Billie Flanagan has been presumed dead. However, her teenage daughter Olive refuses to believe it. As the anniversary of her mother's disappearance approaches, Olive begins having visions that lead her to believe Billie is still alive and trying to communicate with her telepathically. Olive's father, Peter, who has let go of any hope for Billie's return and is writing a memoir about their lives together, believes Olive is having seizures and should be medicated. After Peter quits his job to work on the book, intense concentration on his and Billie's life leading up to the hiking trip uncovers clues that their marriage wasn't all he thought it was. If he chooses to accept his daughter's idea that his wife may still be alive, he risks shattering every happy memory he has of their past. But living a painful lie might be a worse outcome for everyone. Brown's (