books, reviews

Book Review: The Disappearance of Stephanie Mailer – Joel Dicker

In the summer of 1994, the quiet seaside town of Orphea reels from the discovery of two brutal murders.

Confounding their superiors, two young police officers, Jesse Rosenberg and Derek Scott crack the case and arrest the murderer, earning themselves handsome promotions and the lasting respect of their colleagues.

But twenty years later, just as he is on the point of taking early retirement, Rosenberg is approached by Stephanie Mailer, a journalist who believes he made a mistake back in 1994 and that the real murderer is still out there, perhaps ready to strike again. Before she can give any more details however, Stephanie Mailer mysteriously disappears without trace, and Rosenberg and Scott are forced to confront the awful possibility that her suspicions might have been proved horribly true.

What happened to Stephanie Mailer?

What did she know?

And what really happened in Orphea all those years ago?

My thoughts:

I got an advance copy of this book at Capital Crime, which is due to be published by Quercus translated into English in May next year.

This is a doorstop of a crime thriller, but one that cracks along at quite a pace. Fantastic characterisation, strong, tense plotting, an abundance of strange suspects, and a clever, knotty plot.

I raced through this book, desperate to know what was about to happen, to solve the various crimes – Stephanie Mailer’s disappearance and the murders from 1994. I’m often pretty good at solving the crimes in most thrillers but this one was so smartly done that I got completely tangled up in the various threads and could empathise with Rosenberg, who struggled to unravel it himself.

I’ve not read any of Dicker’s other books, but I did watch some of the TV adaptation of The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair, which I gave up on as too long and meandering. Hopefully that was just the adaptation and not the book, as if this is anything to go by Dicker’s books are definitely worth reading.

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