The Disappearing Act: A Novel (Hardcover)
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From the New York Times bestselling author of Something in the Water and Mr. Nobody comes “an unputdownable mystery about the nightmares that abound in the pursuit of Hollywood dreams” (Caroline Kepnes, author of the You series).
ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE SUMMER—Entertainment Weekly • PopSugar
Once a year, actors from across the globe descend on the smog and sunshine of Los Angeles for pilot season. Every cable network and studio is looking to fill the rosters of their new shows, enticing a fresh batch of young hopefuls—anxious, desperate, and willing to do whatever it takes to make it. Careers will be made, dreams will be realized, stars will be born. And some will be snuffed out.
British star Mia Eliot has landed leading roles in costume dramas in her native country, but now it’s time for Hollywood to take her to the next level. Mia flies across the Atlantic to join the horde of talent scrambling for their big breaks. She’s a fish out of water in the ruthlessly competitive arena of back-to-back auditioning. Then one day she meets Emily, another actress from out of town and a kindred spirit. Emily is friendly and genuine and reassuringly doesn’t seem to be taking any of it too seriously. She stands out in a conveyor-belt world of fellow auditionees. But a simple favor takes a dark twist when Emily disappears and Mia realizes she was the last person to see her. And when a woman knocks on Mia’s door the following day claiming to be Emily and isn’t the woman Mia remembers at all, Mia is deeply troubled.
All Mia has to go on is the memory of a girl she met only once . . . and the suffocating feeling that something terrible has happened. Worse still, the police don’t believe her when she claims the real Emily has gone missing. So Mia is forced to risk the role of a lifetime to try to uncover the truth about Emily, a gamble that will force her to question her own sanity as the truth goes beyond anything she could ever have imagined.
Actress and author Catherine Steadman has written a gripping thriller set in a world close to home that asks the question: In a city where dreams really do come true, how far would you go to make the unreal real?
About the Author
Catherine Steadman is an actress and writer based in North London, UK. She is best known in the United States for her role as Mabel Lane Fox in Downton Abbey. Her debut novel, Something in the Water, was a Reese’s Book Club x Hello Sunshine pick and a New York Times and Sunday Times bestseller. It was longlisted for the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award and shortlisted for the Macavity Award and the ITW Thriller Award for Best First Novel, and it has been optioned for film by Hello Sunshine, Reese Witherspoon’s production company.
“Page-turning . . . tackles the dark side of Hollywood.”—Entertainment Weekly (The Best Thrillers)
“Auditions, screen tests, cutthroat competition: Catherine Steadman is familiar with the challenges of the acting biz. . . . Her perspective as an actress and a writer bring realism to this novel, as she dips into Hollywood’s murky waters. . . . In any good noir novel, an atmospheric locale is vital, and Steadman richly evokes Los Angeles ‘in all its monstrous glory.’ . . . Reading The Disappearing Act is much like watching a suspenseful film.”—The Washington Post
“The cutthroat world of Hollywood proves to be downright deadly in The Disappearing Act.”—PopSugar “A Best Summer Read of 2021”
“Catherine Steadman’s The Disappearing Act is pure catnip for the soul. It’s my favorite Steadman book yet, an unputdownable mystery about the nightmares that abound in the pursuit of Hollywood dreams.”—Caroline Kepnes, New York Times bestselling author of the You series
“Another page-turning winner from Catherine Steadman . . . ingenious and intriguing, with a fascinating insight into the acting world.”—B. A. Paris, New York Times bestselling author of Behind Closed Doors
“From gifting suites to the casting couch, Catherine Steadman delves beneath L.A.’s superficial gloss to present the darker side of Hollywood with all the brutal authenticity of someone who has lived it. Immersive prose and an obsessive drive to discover the truth make for an angsty, compelling read in this pacey tale of shifting identities, ambitious starlets and cynical execs. Glamour, greed and gaslighting—the perfect summer read!”—Harriet Walker, author of The New Girl
“Entertaining . . . authentic movie business details and nicely developed characters . . . This tale of Hollywood glamour, cruelty, and myth is sure to win Steadman new fans.”—Publishers Weekly
“Ethel Barrymore described Hollywood as ‘a glaring, gaudy, nightmarish set erected in the desert.’ That hasn’t changed much, as we see in this engrossing thriller. . . . Steadman, both an author and an actress, deftly brings her talent for characterization to her writing, combining an engaging mystery with a meaty look at the question of what is real in a land of make-believe. This glittering narrative with a totally beguiling protagonist makes for an absolutely perfect beach read.”—Booklist (starred review)