Book Review: The Disappearing Act by Catherine Steadman

June 22, 2021 in Mystery & Thriller

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Today’s book review is a little different to usual. Because while it is an ARC review, it’s an ARC that I won in a giveaway so doubly exciting stuff. The book that I’ll be talking about today is The Disappearing Act by Catherine Steadman which comes out on June 24th. Catherine Steadman’s previous books, Something in the Water and Mr Nobody, were all the rage last year. Even I bought them! I haven’t read them yet but I did really enjoy The Disappearing Act so I’ll be getting around to those backlist titles ASAP. But for now, let’s dive into my review!

Many thanks to Nina Pottell for the ARC of The Disappearing Act!

The Disappearing Act by Catherine Steadman

The Disappearing Act
by Catherine Steadman

Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Date of Publication: 24th June 2021
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Format: Paperback (352 pages)
Rating: ★★★★

Buy on*


A woman has gone missing
But did she ever really exist?

Mia Eliot has travelled from London to LA for pilot season. This is her big chance to make it as an actor in Hollywood, and she is ready to do whatever it takes. At an audition she meets Emily, and what starts as a simple favour takes a dark turn when Emily goes missing and Mia is the last person to see her.

Then a woman turns up, claiming to be Emily, but she is nothing like Mia remembers. Why would someone pretend to be Emily? Starting to question her own sanity, she goes on a desperate and dangerous search for answers, knowing something is very, very wrong.

In an industry where everything is about creating illusions, how do you know what is real? And how much would you risk to find out?

Content Warnings

  • Rape
  • Involuntary drug use
  • Murder/Attempted Murder

Book Review

The Disappearing Act is one of those incredibly fast-paced thriller types that could definitely be read in one sitting. Everything moves so quickly that “one more chapter” quickly turns into five. (Don’t believe me, ask my husband!) In that respect, I think it would be perfect for a beach read so if you’re looking for a mystery/thriller novel to take to the beach, then this might be the one!

In terms of its mystery elements, I thought it was well done. The twists were unpredictable. Every guess that I made turned out to be way off base which was a lot of fun. For a long time, I wasn’t sure who to trust – I even started to doubt Mia’s version of reality for a bit.

Main character, Mia, is a down-to-Earth actress which makes her likeable and her very human dilemmas make it easy to sympathise with her. (I mean the way her ex left her was BRUTAL. I hated that guy with a fiery passion and he’s not even an on-page character.) However, I felt like she didn’t trust her instincts nearly enough.

One of the things that I thought worked especially well was the interesting perspective into the acting world. I wasn’t aware that Catherine Steadman was an actress so having an insider’s point of view here was fascinating. It worked really well both as a setting and as an overarching theme.

Although I did really enjoy it, I felt that it was lacking something. The setting was immersive to the point that I felt transported to LA but I didn’t quite feel how Mia was feeling. That disconnect meant that I was reading on purely for answers, not because I needed to know that she was safe. I love reading thrillers because they give me that anxious buzz that’s different to my normal anxious state because it gets resolved whereas my general anxiety disorder does not but I didn’t even feel slightly anxious with this one. It didn’t massively impact my overall enjoyment but it did keep it from getting a full 5 stars.

Will you be adding The Disappearing Act to your TBR? Let me know your thoughts below.


  • Nicole Wilson June 23, 2021 at 12:19 pm

    This sounds like such an interesting premise! Seems they nailed the mystery aspect but lacked the character exploration.

  • Hasini @ Bibliosini June 28, 2021 at 5:26 am

    I love the sounds of this one! That synopsis itself is very attention-grabbing! Glad you had a good time reading this one! Can’t wait to read it myself!

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