If I Disappear

Berkley. Jan. 2021. 304p. ISBN 9780593198223. $26. THRILLER
After a divorce and a miscarriage, thirtysomething Sera Fleece is adrift, obsessive, and agoraphobic. When the host of her favorite true-crime podcast vanishes, she packs up and heads for podcaster Rachel’s home in the wilds of Northern California. It is a ramshackle guest ranch and her family is a wild bunch, wary of strangers, gun-toting, rednecked, and angry. Sera hires on as a hand on the ranch in hopes of finding clues to Rachel’s whereabouts, but all she finds is trouble. Rachel’s mother is suspicious of Sera’s friendship with Jeb, the other hired hand. The harder she searches for clues to Rachel’s disappearance the deeper she is sucked into their strange behaviors and lifestyle. Their motivations are all questionable and there doesn’t seem to be a single adult among them. Sera could just walk away from this mixed-up bunch, but strangely, she does not. Her obsession with Rachel is too overwhelming, and the denouement, which should be spine-tingling, is just sad.
VERDICT Brazier, who writes YA novels as Eliza Wass, debuts a fast-paced, slightly scary adult thriller that oozes with obsession and maladjustment yet does not meet the standard set by the likes of Ruth Ware, Gillian Flynn, or S.J. Paris.
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