The Photographer

Minotaur: St. Martin’s. May 2021. 304p. ISBN 9781250790330. $27.99. SUSPENSE
DEBUT The brilliant photographer Delta Dawn has built her career by capturing memories for New York’s elite. Shooting intimate family moments simultaneously fills her with joy and utter sadness, because it reminds her of what’s missing from her own life. When she’s hired by Amelia and Fritz Straub to photograph their daughter Natalie’s 11th birthday party, Delta immediately becomes attached to the family and harbors a deep desire to become a permanent part of the Straub clan. She befriends Amelia and is soon at the Straubs’ complete disposal. Delta’s frenzied mental state continuously pushes her own limits, until the moment when she goes too far. Following Delta’s perspective throughout the novel allows readers to see just how disturbing and calculating her behavior has become. Amelia and Fritz are irritatingly unaware of Delta’s manipulations, only catching on when she reaches a level of strangeness that can’t be overlooked. Their self-absorbed decisions and apathetic treatment of Natalie are cringe-worthy, which may cause readers to have little sympathy for the Straubs’ predicament.
VERDICT Despite the heightened emotional state and slow burn throughout the novel, readers will be disappointed by Carter’s sudden, surprisingly dull conclusion.
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