Random House Publishing Group | July 2017 | 368 pgs
Source: Library

At first glance, Watch Me Disappear may seem like a psychological suspense but at its core it is actually a story revolving family dynamic and how well you really know your loved ones.

Billie Flanagan had gone missing from a hiking expedition in the Desolation Wilderness a year ago and till present her body couldn't be found. Her husband, Jonathan and their sixteen-year-old daughter, Olive are still coping with the grief of losing her while awaiting for the court issuance of her death certificate, which has proved to be a long struggling wait considering that there is no solid proof and that her death remains a mystery. While Jonathan tries to cope with the loss and hoping for a closure that would allow them to move on with their life through the insurance settlement, Olive, on the other hand, starts having visions of her mother. Each of these visions seems to tell Olive that Billie might be alive and that Olive should try to find her. 

Meanwhile, Jonathan isn't so sure about Olive's visions and thinks his daughter is hallucinating with her grief and denial. Worrying over her emotional stability, he sent Olive to visit a therapist while he himself drinks as he works on a memoir about his marriage, which is part work as a writer to a publishing house and part in loving memory of Billie. And as he finds her laptop and stumbles upon an encrypted folder, his mind wanders in different directions the more he starts unearthing secrets from her past through his little diggings and investigations. Who was the woman he knew as Billie Flanagan? What happened to her on that fateful day when she went hiking alone in Desolation Wilderness? 

I've to admit it took me a little while to get engrossed in this story. It had a slow beginning and focus much on the mundane life and relationship within the Flanagan household. The reader also get to know a bit more of Olive, her relationship with her mother as well as bits of her school life. Olive is an angsty teenage girl who will go anywhere to find the truth about her mother's disappearance. Jonathan believes in his family but he hadn't been paying much attention towards Billie and Olive; he was too involved in his work and he didn't want to intrude upon their "girl bonding" moments until there was a time Olive slowly drifted away from that bond. 

As mentioned before, if you're expecting this to be a psychological suspense then you'll be disappointed because this is leaning more towards the issues of family dynamic, marriage and relationship and what you tell yourself about the people you love. That said, the story has a few twists and turns and like Jonathan and Olive, I was totally clueless and dying of curiosity over Billie's disappearance until the final page, which left me speechless as my mind finally settled on the last three paragraphs. This is a well written story which will prompt a discussion (because I sure want to discuss that ending with whoever had read the book!)

End note: I googled Desolation Wilderness out of curiosity and was surprised to learn that it isn't fictional (OK, perhaps it's only me who didn't know this fact) and is located in El Dorado County, California. (More info here from Wikipedia)

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12 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    You’ve got me very intrigued. I’ll have to snatch it and read it. Then we can discuss.

  2. Lark Says:

    I want to know what happens at the end,'ve made me very curious. :)

  3. jenclair Says:

    When you said the final page left you speechless, which can be good or bad, you certainly made me curious!

  4. Melody Says:

    Jenny - Yes, this book will make a good discussion. I sure want to talk about that ending.

  5. Melody Says:

    Lark - Hehe. I hope you'll pick this up. :)

  6. Melody Says:

    Jenclair - Oi! Just wished I could say more about that ending... at this moment all I can say is it begs for some discussions.

  7. I live in California, and I didn't know about Desolation Wilderness. This sounds like an emotionally charged read. You've got me curious about those last three paragraphs!

  8. Iliana Says:

    That is a beautiful image. I think I would have had to google it too! I like the sound of this book and am looking forward to reading it.

  9. Melody Says:

    Wendy - Yes, it was an emotionally charged read. I felt for the family, yet I wonder why one member chose that decision.

  10. Melody Says:

    Iliana - Desolation Wilderness looks beautiful, isn't it? I don't think I'll have the courage to hike there; it looks intimidating. I hope you'll enjoy this book.

  11. The Bookworm Says:

    Watch Me Disappear sounds like a page turner and like one that makes for great discussion. Nice review!

  12. Melody Says:

    Naida - Indeed it is, Naida.

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