Cover Image: The Day She Disappeared

The Day She Disappeared

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Member Reviews

Thank you to Netgalley, the publisher and the author, for an ARC of this book, in exchange for an honest review.
Unfortunately, I have tried reading this book on 2 separate occasions and during that 2nd attempt, I have only managed to make it halfway through so I'd rather stop here and state that this book just wasn't for me.
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After a messy breakup, Nat is ready to move on with her life and to figure out what might come next.  Her miserable ex, Jim, might be stubbornly refusing to accept the new reality and let her go but Nat is keen to put it all firmly behind her, maybe even have a bit of a laugh over it with her mate Beth. Beth has always been a different operator to Nat – outgoing and determinedly pragmatic when it comes to enjoying the company of men as they take her eye.  Beth has always been the good time friend, but Nat has always trusted the substance of Beth behind the bright and bubbly front that her fellow bar worker puts on for the world. It’s not terribly unusual for Beth to disappear sometimes, which is more than annoying to their employer and workmates when it happens. This time though it seems quite different.  What is most alarming is that everyone around Nat seems convinced that Beth is just off to see family and will eventually crawl back into the pub with her usual fervent apologies. 

Living and working in a small village means encountering in the street the array of customers that all come into the pub where the two women work.  Nat knows that the charms of Beth have never hurt the custom of which is quite an isolated little place, even for a holiday destination. As the days tick over Nat is more and more certain that someone is watching her, perhaps even watching her searching in despair as the days tick over with no sign of Beth.   It must be someone very close to them both who is leaving disturbing little clues that Beth won’t be coming back.

THE DAY SHE DISAPPEARED is one of those slow moving crime novels that you need to commit to, and then your reward will come. There are complex relationships at play and the modern issues that are raised include the treatment of the aged, misogyny, family violence and the closed shop realities of village life.  A murder in such a setting is not unusual but it does serve as a catalyst for action amongst the cast of characters that otherwise might seem to be stoically enduring their daily grind.  Stay with them and the submerged part of their personalities eventually will rise to the surface for your closest inspection.

It can a little difficult with an ebook read to immediately grasp whom we are reading about, as there are a few passages from the point of view of the killer, who is obviously close and observing the aftermath of his or her acts.  This needed to be better delineated as the reader could find themselves backtracking to see exactly who thoughts they were just privy to.

If you have a hankering for English mysteries, THE DAY SHE DISAPPEARED will set you up nicely for the duration, immersing its readers in the somewhat dream location of a holiday park located near the water (as all the best ones are). Author Christobel Kent structures her narrative here in such a fashion that the reader feels they are drifting along with the protagonist, absorbing her insecurities, becoming increasingly tense with each new suspicion.
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Like many a good mystery. The Day She Disappeared is slow going for rather a while, but the end makes it well worth the read. (Patience is needed to get to the good part.) Thank you #NetGalley and #Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
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This suspenseful novel is told in an almost stream of consciousness style, taking the reader right into the moment. There are many suspects and the reader is left guessing until the very end. Although it was sometimes a bit melodramatic, it was enjoyable to lose myself in the mystery.
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I am currently working on expanding our school library's senior section after years of a dismal and uninspiring selection of books that our older readers never checked out.  My job has been to seek out much more diverse, gripping and modern books that will get them into reading by appealing to as broad a range of readers as possible. This really appealed to me because of its fantastic narrative and sense of atmosphere, combined with believable characterisation and its page-turning nature. It's hard to get young people into reading and if the library is not stocking the kind of book that they might grow up to buy as adult readers then we are not really meeting their needs. I can imagine this provoking lots of discussion after finishing it and a long queue of people trying to reserve it as they've heard so much about it. Will definitely be buying a copy and know that it's going to be a very popular choice. An engrossing read that kept me up far too late to finish reading it. It certainly stood out from the other books that I was considering and I look forward to converting more readers in future!
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Thank you to Netgalley for the opportunity to read this advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

It took me a minute to get used to the writing style and to get into this, but once I did I really enjoyed it. It definitely kept me guessing until the end.
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I’ve heard a lot about the books of Christobel Kent—all good things, so I was excited to dive into this one. Twenty-something barmaid Natalie “Nat” Cooper is making ends meet and still reeling from a recent breakup with her ex, Jim. She and Jim have a long history, but things finally came to a head, and while Nat is muddling through, Jim is taking it extremely hard. Luckily, the bustle of the Bird in Hand goes a long way toward keeping her mind off Jim.

She does miss her best friend, Beth Maxwell—who is visiting her mother—and is looking forward to her getting back. Nat and Beth are … different. Nat is quiet and fairly reserved, while Beth is a brash bombshell who goes through men like a boat through a wake in the nearby river. She’s also a huge draw for the punters, which is why the bar owner, Janine, hired her in spite of her not-quite-on-point waitressing skills.

Nat had never had a sister, and never had a friend like Beth. Someone who knew you, without you having to tell them, even if they were so different. At school Nat would have been the one who sat in the front row with her head down, and Beth arriving late and smelling of fags. But they hadn’t gone to school together, had they? From different ends of the country, Nat having grown up on the edge of this very village, done her time at the high school in town, then college. Beth, four years younger though you wouldn’t know it sometimes, was from somewhere up north and had left school at sixteen.

“What good is fecking school anyway,” she’d said, without bitterness, or so it seemed, cool, agreeable. “Flipping teachers after you every five minutes. What they gonna teach me?”

And then that smile, that big lazy smile that drew people to her. “More to learn other places. Right, Nat?” And she’d give Nat a shove with her shoulder, that shoulder always peeling brown after hours staked out in the sun. She knew Nat had played it by the book: college, sleeping on sofas in London for a year trying to get jobs before ending up back here anyway. Both of them behind the bar of the Bird.

Beth is not a woman most men would want to take home to mom but one they’d be happy to bed—though I really hate that whole categorization anyway. So does Nat. Nat knows the quiet kindness that Beth hides under her tough exterior. What she doesn’t know is the depth of the pain that Beth is running away from. She’ll soon find out, though.

Nat has been texting Beth, and Beth has been responding—or so Nat thinks. However, Nat knows that Beth had a doctor’s appointment scheduled, and when the day of the appointment comes and goes, Nat starts to worry. She seems to be the only one worried, though. Beth has a bit of a reputation for flightiness, and it seems that anyone who knows her wouldn’t be at all surprised if she met a man and decided to do a runner. Nat’s not so sure. When Beth’s landlord turns up claiming Beth is behind on rent, Nat really starts to worry.

To add to her stress, a 92-year-old bar patron named Victor—who Nat adores—is in the hospital, and his family can’t be contacted. So Nat steps in to make sure he’s taken care of. Little does Nat know, Victor witnessed something that may have to do with the murder of a young man who was recently fished out of the river near the caravan where Victor lives on his own.

This murder is the focus for the local police, and Nat is having trouble getting anyone to listen to her concerns about Beth. She’s shocked when Beth’s landlord turns up at the bar with Beth’s phone, of which Beth was very protective. So Nat decides to do some snooping of her own in Beth’s empty apartment. The landlord has already been at it, bagging up Beth’s stuff and setting it aside.

Would the police go through the rubbish? Should she touch nothing? In one rash movement Nat upended the bag full of clothes and it all came tumbling out: crop tops, the favourite sequined mini, the wedges, the sandals, jeans, jeans, more jeans. The pair she never washed, she was wearing them in to the perfect color, Beth said, the perfect jeans, moulded to my arse, and slapping her own backside, friendly.

Mo Hawkins wouldn’t have given it a thought, why a girl like Beth would leave it all behind. It wasn’t like she could splash out on a new wardrobe, on what she earned—or maybe Mo thought Beth would be looked after, a sugar daddy, taken round the shops. Not likely. Beth wasn’t that girl. Beth wanted her freedom. Party girl Beth wasn’t going to be locked up in a carpeted pink pad or a chrome and glass high rise.

At this point, further discoveries—like Beth’s acne medication, which she’d never leave behind (along with her clothes)—do nothing to assuage Nat’s queasy feeling that something is very wrong.

As Nat starts to dig into Beth’s past more, she finds out that Beth may have been hiding quite a few things—but could she actually be dead? And if so, who could have killed her? Kent does a great job at building suspense, and by the time it’s revealed who actually dunnit, I suspected just about everyone (well, except Nat).

For those looking for a fast-paced thriller, this is not your book. This is the very definition of slow-burn suspense. The first half does a lot to flesh out the main characters, and Kent digs pretty deep into the plight of the elderly Victor.

I loved Nat’s focus on finding out what happened to Beth—a focus born of the love that you have for a true friend, a woman that lit up a room and commanded attention, who had been there for Nat when she needed her the most.

When Nat had left Jim, she’d come for the key to the cottage and Beth had been standing behind the bar, getting ready to open up. “Oh, love,” she’d said, watching Nat pile her bags and boxes inside the door. Then she’d shoved up the counter and come through it and hugged her, long and hard.

And now she was gone and with her the sense of something gone forever: Beth wouldn’t have wanted that, not to just—disappear, not for things to move on without her. But she was gone.

This nuanced mystery will reward patient readers and those longing for a story with characters that you’ll genuinely care for. It also doesn’t hurt that there’s a creepy killer lurking at the edges of the small village, waiting for a chance to pounce. Christobel Kent has a reputation for intelligent, creepy novels, and it’s well earned.
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I don't know what it was with this book, but it just was not a book I really enjoyed. I think it was primarily the writing style. It took me some time to read what should have been a simple read. I have struggled with writing this review, since I really don't have a lot to say about the novel. I finished the novel just to know how it ended, and skimmed most of the last quarter of novel to get through it. Kent wrote about interesting topics that could have been fleshed out better.

In my opinion, this was a run of the mill murder mystery. The writing style was somewhat confusing, bouncing around between different characters who intersected along the way. The killer was not predictable necessarily, which was a bonus and slightly surprising. The main character was hard to follow as a person and what her character was supposed to be. Is she supposed to be strong? Confused? Level-headed? All of the above?

As far as the murder victim, there seemed to be a lot of playing around and undeveloped plot lines. There were a lot of plot lines that only muddied the waters, and maybe that was the intent. I am not sure what the intent was, but to me it was a lot of wasted time that distracted from the novel. I think that there are a lot better murder mysteries out there if you're into this genre.
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A hard pass - 1) I can't stand it when thrillers open with the act of violence (usually, if not 99% of the time, on a woman) and then jump into the narrative.  It's a writerly tic that reads as lazy and distancing.  I totally admit to being hypocritical, or at least inconsistent, because I'm sure some of the contemporary thriller/mystery writers that I enjoy employ this same tactic, but you better be super good at writing for it to work and, in my opinion, Ms. Kent is not that good. 2) Multiple narrators are a tricky business and I don't think Ms. Kent has a super firm grasp on making it work.  It's jumpy and disconcerting and, honestly, I never really got the point of it for this novel.  Anyway, not for me.
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I have read and enjoyed all of Christobel Kent's previous books, which is why I am non plussed as to why I didn't enjoy this one, or indeed get to the end; a first for me. It almost felt as if she'd only written the outline and someone else had filled in the detail. It was dull, excessively wordy, needed tighter editing, threw lots of names of characters at the reader without giving them substance and rammed information at us instead of letting it slowly seep in through the plot. With no one to invest in or root for I gave up. Shame as I would be reluctant to try another one of hers after this.
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Title...The Day She Disappeared 

Author...Christobel Kent

My " in a nutshell" summary...

Nat and Beth are both working at a smallish pub in a quaint smallish town.  Beth does not come into work one day and seems to have vanished.  Nat does not believe that Beth simply went away.  She left everything she owned behind.  Strange things begin to happen in this peaceful town...another murder and lots of unexplained occurrences...Nat continues to search for Beth but the more she does the more her own life and the lives of others seem to become endangered.   

My thoughts after reading this book...

This book took on an intense feel almost from its beginning.  Nat was wise enough to know that her friend...Beth...would not just leave.  She was persistent in her search for Beth.  

What I loved about this book...

My favorite character was sweet 92 year old Victor.  His sense of his daughter’s danger was strong and he did what he could to protect her.  

What I did not love about this book...

There were quite a few characters that “I loved to hate” in this book...just some really nasty neighbors but in particular...jealous pub owner Janine.  

Final thoughts...
Would this be a good choice for you...potential reader?

Readers who love a deeply engrossing I tense mystery should love this book. 

I received  an advance reader’s copy of this  book from the publisher through NetGalley and Amazon.  It was my choice to read it and review it.
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Gripping Thriller.
When her colleague and friend Beth disappears Nathalie seems to be the only one who cares, apart from Victor, who is over 90 years old and who just can’t remember things he should after he was assaulted.
Then the body of a young man turns up and there are so many suspects. Who do you really know and who can you trust...
Was this review helpful?  Ima need a minute to let my blood pressure and heart rate calm down after this one, dang!  What a wonderful, suspenseful, thriller that seriously kept me guessing until the very end! Kent just starts off at the beginning with this one and does not let up until the epilogue and I LOVED every minute of it.  
Beth is a barmaid that has apparently left town, fitting with her personality and therefore no one thinks anything of it.  Except that her friend and fellow barmaid Nat did not know she wasn’t coming back, and immediately wonders if something is wrong.  She continues to push the issue despite everyone telling her this is normal behavior for Beth, but the more she digs, the more she uncovers and the story keeps twisting and turning.  I thought this was very well done and definitely recommend.  This was also my first book by this author and I will definitely be reading more!
Thanks to NetGalley for an electronic ARC of this book.
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With a slow start and characters changing abruptly between paragraphs, this book took a bit to get into. It got better as the reader settles into the writing style and figures out just who is who. After a disjointed start, the story started picking up before the halfway mark and took off from there. Even though we are privy to the killers thoughts, there are enough clues pointed towards others that it became a guessing game until the end.  I was disappointed when the actual killer was finally revealed.  It just didn't seem like the best fit, but still a good mystery for a lazy afternoon.
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The premise is good but this book was unfortunately dull, dull, dull. The writing is flat, the characters boring, and nothing to draw the reader in and keep them. I was not invested in the characters or interested in the outcome.
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I would like to thank Farrar, Straus & Giroux and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read ‘The Day She Disappeared’ by Christobel Kent in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.
Nat knows that her best friend Beth wouldn’t just leave without saying goodbye.  But Beth has gone leaving all her belongings including clothes and mobile phone and no one, especially the police, believe Nat when she says that someone is following her.  It isn’t until towards the end that Nat realises what’s happened to Beth, but is it too late?
I enjoyed ‘The Day She Disappeared’ and although at times I became a little confused with the number of characters involved, it was gripping and kept me enthralled until the final page.
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I had real problems connecting with this book.  The writing was a bit disjointed and from the very first pages, I was lost and lost interest.

Thank you NetGalley and publisher for the advance digital copy!
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Oh dear. Dreary from its opening paragraph, this murder myster/who will believe me tale offers little originality or charm. Dialogue is dull, characters flat, premise frustrating. Not a winner.
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4.5 stars.

  The Day She Disappeared by Christobel Kent is a slow burning yet completely mesmerizing mystery set in small English town.

  Natalie “Nat” Cooper seems to be the only one concerned about her co-worker and close friend, Beth Maxwell’s disappearance.  Their boss, pub owner Janine is not overly troubled that other than a handful of texts, no one has seen or heard from Beth since she abruptly left weeks earlier to care for her mum. Now discovering Beth is not returning, Nat is worried enough to do a little digging around and she is distressed to learn that her friend did not go to her mum’s after all. But it is not until Beth’s landlady makes a shocking discovery that Nat is convinced that something terrible has happened. No one, including the police, will take her fears seriously so Nat decides to investigate Beth’s disappearance on her own.

  Nat’s life has not exactly gone as planned since after going off to college and living briefly in London, she is back in the town she grew up in. Now close to thirty, she is struggling to make peace with the choices she has recently made. She and Beth may not have much in common, but the pair were quite close.  Initially a little hurt that Beth left without warning, Nat was not worried that something was amiss until Beth’s out of character failure to return to work as scheduled.

  Beth is a bit a free spirit who is quite popular with the male customers who come into the pub. Spontaneous and without many inhibitions, she enjoys going out with a variety of men.  Beth is a surprisingly supportive friend and a reliable employee.  Despite their close friendship, Nat is very surprised by some of the information she uncovers about Beth when she begins trying to find out what happened to her.

  Around the same time Beth fails to return, Nat’s friend, Victor Powell has been hospitalized after a fall.  In his early nineties, Victor is quite active and well-liked by the rest of the townspeople. While still in hospital, he is afraid for his safety but the reason for his fear remains tantalizing out of reach.  Although he cannot quite recall why he is danger, Victor is fully cognizant of his concerns that his daughter, Sophie, might be in danger from her controlling husband.

  The Day She Disappeared is an intriguing whodunit that unfolds from three very different points of view: Nat, Victor and the killer. There is an underlying feeling of menace since Nat feels like someone is watching her but no one will take her fears seriously. Victor is a fantastic secondary character who desperately wants to recall information that might be relevant to what happened to Beth. Brief passages from the killer’s perspective paint a very chilling portrait of a smart but twisted person who has absolutely no remorse for their actions. Through a series of red herrings and misdirects, Christobel Kent brilliantly keeps the perpetrators identity cleverly under wraps until the novel’s action-packed conclusion.
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Thank you to Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Sarah Crichton Books and NetGalley for providing me with an e-galley of The Day She Disappeared by Christobel Kent in exchange for an honest review. This is the first book of Kent's that I have read and I am looking forward to reading her previous novels. This murder mystery takes place in rural England and deals with one murder and the suspicious disappearance of Beth, a barmaid at the local pub. This is not a police procedural because the police do not seem very interested in the disappearance of a party girl and it is mostly left to her best friend Natalie to find out what could have happened to Beth. There are many suspects among the people who have crossed Beth's path and Natalie endangers her life to seek out the truth. The novel moves at a good pace and the ending is surely not evident. A great winter read. Highly recommended.
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