The Night She Disappeared,
by Kevin O’Brien
Publication: Pinnacle Books; July 27, 2021
Some nightmares you can’t forget
From the depths of sleep, Seattle TV reporter Anna Malone awakens to her phone ringing. She rarely drinks, and this hangover is brutal. Why can’t she shake the feeling that something terrible happened last night? And why can’t she recall any of it?
But even worse
What Anna does remember: an awkward restaurant meal with her married lover, Russ Knoll, and his unsuspecting wife, Courtney. Russ’s phone call reveals that Courtney is missing, and as days go by with no trace, he comes under police scrutiny. Anna’s in the spotlight too, thanks to a TV rival with a grudge. Anna’s not proud of her affair, but she and Russ aren’t bad people. They’re certainly not the killing kind.
Is the one you can’t remember . . .
Anna already suspected that Courtney—a successful, charming author—might have a darker side. Is she truly missing? Perhaps the sudden disturbances in Anna’s life aren’t accidental after all. But no scenario that Anna imagines can compare to the twisted game unfolding around her, one chilling piece at a time . . .
In order to take back some control of my every-growing TBR list, I have decided to ignore any other details but publication date in order to fairly get through the books I have requested. Which, by the way, has become a very efficient way for me to organize my reviews. Anyway, Kevin O’Brien is a new to me author and I loved the blurb for this one, so here we go!
The main characters are the news journalist, Anna, her married lover/handsome pediatrician, Russ, and Russ’ wife Courtney, an author who is also mostly deaf. Unable to resist the pull to Russ, against her better moral judgment, Anna became Russ’ mistress over a year ago. She suddenly meets Courtney who begs to get together and talk about her upcoming book. Despite Anna’s hesitance, she and her videographer, George, complete an expose on Courtney to spotlight her new book launch. After an awkward night with both Courtney and Russ and way too much drinking, Anna wakes up disoriented with the worst hangover of her life unable to remember any details from the night before. When Russ phones telling her that Courtney is missing, Anna begins her struggle to piece the evening together to find out what happened.
So, Anna’s character isn’t introduced in the best light. She’s the other woman, sleeping and in love with someone else’s husband, all while playing nice to the wife for a t.v. segment. Even better, she wakes up in a different bedroom in her house, in a shirt she doesn’t remember putting on, late for work, and hungover as hell. Poor Anna had to earn some points back with me from the first page, but she did eventually get there.
Russ seemed almost too good to be true, with the exception of being a cheater, and my suspicions about him having something to do with Courtney’s disappearance were running high from the beginning. I was convinced that he killed her in an argument or that Anna was so drunk she killed her to get her out of the way. But then these creepy phone calls begin, all of these other characters started trickling in, and it took me almost the entire book to figure everything out. Although somewhat farfetched theories, more and more people kept appearing making me think, “well, I kind of see how they would do it just to frame her,” or “That’s a stretch but it could be that guy.” It was very close to the end when I started figuring out “whodunnit,” but it was even later until it was confirmed and I figured out why. I love that! Give me a thriller that keeps me guessing until the end and I’m a happy girl.
Now, some criticism. There is a character named Sally Justice who is basically a fictional Nancy Grace. Her show was the same, things she said sounded like things I have heard Nancy Grace say before, and her presence was honestly, a bit much. I liked the angle of this crazy aggressive t.v. personality trying to rip Anna and Russ apart, but she had a bit too much real estate in the book for me personally. Also, there was a great deal of flashbacks for Anna about her childhood that I didn’t find completely necessary. I realize the author was trying to develop her character, but I found myself starting to quickly skim over them.
The Night She Disappeared was an addictive roller coaster ride that kept me guessing until the end and kept me up way past my normal bedtime. O’Brien created this amazing puzzle that took forever to figure out and I highly recommend this one to fans of this genre or especially to those who aren’t sure this is a genre they would like.
*Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest review!
4 thoughts on “Book Review: The Night She Disappeared, by Kevin O’Brien”
Another one I really loved, but then I’m a Kevin O’Brien fan from way back. I think I’ve read just about everything he’s written. He’s an auto buy author for me. 🙂
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I will definitely read his books in the future!
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I read this one a couple of months ago – my first Kevin O’Brian book. I’ll be reading more from him. Nice review!
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Glad you enjoyed! I will certainly be reading more from him also!
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