The Disappearing Act by Catherine Steadman – Book Review

Title: The Disappearing Act

Author: Catherine Steadman

Genre: Thriller

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publication Date: 24th June 2021

Rating: 5/5



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?


I’m fascinated by the movie industry so I was super intrigued by a thriller set in that world and The Disappearing Act was every bit as fantastic as I’d hoped it would be! The story follows actress, Mia, who does a quick favour for fellow actress Emily at an audition and then finds herself embroiled in a seriously odd situation when Emily goes missing. Things only get stranger from there when Emily reappears, but is not the same women Mia remembers.

I raced through The Disappearing Act, telling myself over and over ‘just one more chapter’! It is such an addictive and consistently intriguing read. I immediately liked and was rooting for Mia. She’s smart, grounded and I loved her outlook on the both the positive and negative aspects of the industry she is part of. The glossy veneer of LA which hides an often very dark undercurrent is beautifully observed whilst the stylish and evocative writing completely draws the reader into this cutthroat world of privilege, desperation and power. It’s also an incredibly cinematic book and would make a terrific film in my humble opinion. The plot is ingenious and is full of well placed twists and turns which left me totally unable to put the book down. My only complaint is that I genuinely didn’t want the story to end, so engrossed was I in this glamorous, almost Hitchcockian thriller. I really can’t recommend this unnerving, intelligent and immersive book with just the right amount of escapism highly enough and I will be definitely be reading more of Steadman’s work in the future. The Disappearing Act honestly is, in my view, the perfect summer read!

I kindly received a copy of the book from the publisher. My review is entirely my own honest opinion.

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