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The Disappearing Act

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Mia Eliot has almost achieved the success she has dreamed of as an actress but things are not going as well in her love life.  She finds out her partner is leaving her when a courier shows up at her door to collect his things. She finds out why through gossip and IG snooping- he has started a relationship with a younger and gorgeous co-star in his upcoming show. When her agent tells her that she is likely to be nominated for an award and asks her if she would be willing to go to Los Angeles to meet with studios for possible roles, Mia is more than willing for the distraction. 
From her arrival, she is swept into a world that has been opened up by her rumored nomination- she is given an Audi at the airport, a luxury apartment for her stay and invited to a gifting suite full of luxury goods. 
She is given a schedule of upcoming casting calls and during the first one she meets a woman named Emily whose audition is right before hers. Emily becomes flustered when she realizes that her parking meter is about to run out and Mia tells her not to worry, she will go out and put coins in for her. Emily leaves her keys, wallet and phone with her and goes inside.  When Mia returns and expects her to come out of the casting room she never shows up and can’t be found.  Mia doesn’t know what to do with the belongings of this woman she met briefly and begins trying to find out what happened to her.  She doesn’t know whether she should call the police or the agency or what could have happened. She is relieved when she gets a call from the missing woman who tells her she will come pick up her things. The woman who shows up is not the same woman she met though.  
The story that follows a game of Mia chasing down the trail of a woman whose path she barely crossed but cannot seem to let go. 
I enjoyed this although it definitely requires a suspension of belief in ways both small and large. ( sorry but I am not buying this actress diet of McDonalds and In n Out while being squeezed into period costumes). The descriptions of the casting calls and Los Angeles were interesting even though I am an Angeleno.  The twists and pacing are well done and I enjoyed the story despite the far fetched plot. 
Thank you to #netgalley and the publisher for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest feedback.
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Who would think that pilot season in LA could turn into a crazy cliffhanger, including a disappearing actress, a look alike and the dark side of Hollywood production companies.  The main character, Mia gets caught in a psychological thriller that keeps the pages turning.  It pulls you in, lets you think you know what is going on and proves you wrong.  Worth the wild ride!

I received a complimentary copy of this book, all opinions in this review are my own. Thank you Random House Publishing Group for allowing me to read this book.
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This book was so entertaining!! It almost felt like a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the LA / Hollywood life and I was completely captivated by it!

Mia is a star in the UK and comes to LA to audition for an amazing part.  The day of the auditions, Mia meets Emily but then Emily disappears.  The Disappearing Act is about Emily digging into the disappearance of this girl she just met and it will have you questioning "what would you do in this situation?".  It may also have you wanting to yell at Mia.  Me, personally?  I would not have gone to the lengths that Mia did, but that would not make for a good thriller novel, now would it?  

I found the auditioning aspect to be intriguing and the cut-throat ambition of the actors to be down-right scary.  The ending wasn't too shocking but I found it to be quite satisfying.  Overall, great read!
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Mia is an actress in London and has, right after her partner for several years leaves her for another younger woman, been nominated for a prestigious acting award.  Her agent turned this into an opportunity for her to go to Los Angeles for a couple of weeks during pilot filming.  After she gets to LA she is treated royally...an Audi sports car at her disposal and a high-rise apartment with security for her use.  While at an audition she meets a woman named Emily and they quickly befriend each other.  Emily talks Mia into taking her wallet and car keys so Mia could feed the meter while Emily is auditioning.  When Mia returns, Emily is gone.  This is a page turner and the author’s background as an actress only makes it more realistic.  Definitely a full five stars.  Thanks to Net Galley and Ballantine for an ARC for an honest review.
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I highly recommend this addictive psychological thriller. Some reviewers have extolled “The Disappearing Act” as a great beach read. Yes it is, but please be careful and put on plenty of sunscreen. You won’t be leaving your beach chair until you’ve read the last word, and I don’t want you to get a terrible sunburn. 

Catherine Steadman is a successful British author and actor.. (You’ve seen her on “Downtown Abbey” and more.) She has also written two success psychological thrillers before this book. 

So, let’s get into “The Disappearing Act”. Actress Mia Eliot is the main character and she tells us of her unusual predicament in the first person. Mia is an actor who comes to Hollywood for the first time. Her trip is part therapy to recover from a ruined relationship and part pilot season tryouts. Mia is a great character- beautiful, poised, talented and nice. Author Steadman’s inside knowledge of the acting business adds to the fascinating detail of the story. And her experience with storytelling and pacing also contributes to the quality and enjoyment of this book. 

I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but what would you do if you met another actor at a casting call, you hoped she would be a friend, and then when you meet her again- something’s not right. She looks and sounds like “Emily” but she’s not the woman you met.  And what would you do if you feared for Emily’s life? Well, if you are an actor, you have a lot of great skills you can count on to help you save Emily and quite likely your own life. Each chapter brings thrills and chills and the famous “Hollywood” sign looms over it all. 

Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group Ballantine for an advance digital review copy. This is my honest review.
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Absolutely amazing read!! Wow.. I was really impressed with how the way this book was written. Definitely a thriller which is what I love. Honestly even the ending was surprising which is always the best!
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The Disappearing Act gave off a very mysterious vibe. It kept me guessing the whole way through. Mia is an actress from London who comes to Los Angeles for some auditions where she meets Emily Bryant. Immediately, she is drawn to her and the exchange between Mia and Emily leads to an entertaining and suspenseful read. Emily disappears, and as Mia becomes more deeply involved with the mysterious disappearance of Emily, she delves deep into the mysteries that Los Angeles has to offer, both in the personal and professional world. If you’re looking for a book to five into this summer and love a good mystery/psychological thriller, this one's for you. Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for an advanced review copy in exchange for my honest review.
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I loved Steadman's first two books so was excited to read this one and it did not disappoint! Mia is an actress living in London and when her live-in boyfriend dumps her for someone younger, she jumps at the chance to visit Los Angeles. At an audition she meets Emily who needs a small favor. But of course things snowball and Mia begins to realize she's in over her head when things go south. Lots of great twists and a look at stardom and men in the upper echelon who prey on young women for their own benefit. Pacing is impeccable and I stopped doing everything I'd planned so I could finish reading! Another solid winner for Steadman!
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I think this was the best book I’ve read all year!! Such a great, untold storyline. Loved the characters and truly had no idea what the ending was going to be. It was so interesting to see behind the scenes in Hollywood and the love story thrown in was great! Highly recommend!
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So far this is one of my favorite Netgalley reads I've been lucky enough to have access to. I had no idea where the story was going with this one so it was a pleasant twist! Thanks to Netgalley for a digital copy in exchange for a review.
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The Disappearing Act

Catherine Steadman

Reader, I loved it.

 Such a cliche to say a read is compulsive; I did little BUT read about young naive London actresses Mia as she negotiated Hollywood once I started.

The book is part mystery, part Entertainment Tonight, part romance, part JANE EYRE homage, all of it beautifully written. 

Mia’s acting star was on the rise after playing JANE EYRE, with hints at key awards.

Her personal life was falling apart.  

When Mia’s agent dangled a trip to LA, Mia jumped at it.

We know from the beginning of the story that Mia misses some key cues...knowing what she failed to see in her personal life is the perfect set up for a “what is REALLY happening” ride through Hollywood.

Chance encounters, beautiful people, sinister beings, deceit, sleight of hand....the reader is never quite sure what to think. 

Is what is happening to Mia and the people around her real, imagined, or part of a scripted event?

Mia, like JANE, has core principles and guidelines that are unshakable even when the reader might beg her to make other choices. Turns out that Jane is a great imaginary friend, and a great inspiration. 

Reader, you might not be able to put this book down. 

#TheDisappearingAct #NetGalley
On sale June 8, 2021
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The Disappearing Act by Catherine Steadman
The Disappearing Act 
by Catherine Steadman  
F 50x66
Joan's review May 11, 2021  ·  edit
it was amazing
Read 1 time

i loved steadman's first novel, 'something in the water' and her latest, 'the disappearing act' does not disappoint. in fact, i was completely captivated from the getgo and did not put it down until i'd finished it late that same night. her plotting is ingenious, but never so overly complicated as to be unrealistic. and her main character, a british actress visiting los angeles for a series of auditions to boost her rising career, is intelligent, talented and very interesting. i felt completely involved as mia eliot tries to untangle the weird events that keep happening around her while trying to prepare for the most important audition of her career. but trying to do the right thing gets her deeper and deeper into somebody else's troubles. and she's the only one who can save herself. thanks to netgalley for the ARC.
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3.5 stars

Catherine Steadman writes a wonderful 'beach read thriller'. This book hooks you in from the start and is a read in one-sitting situation. It's extremely well-paced and centers a British actress (while also written by one) caught in the middle of a gone girl plot that she feels compelled to figure out. The mystery of this book propels it forward with remarkable force and sprinkles in quiet moments of insight asking what fame and 'the American dream' are worth.

While overall a thrilling and compelling read, there were plot points that were such leaps the enchantment of being in the story faded away. The romance sub-plot in this also felt forced and not fully flushed out, like the romance was tacked on as an after-thought. The leading man, Nick, had no real depth and felt more like a character description of the perfect American Hollywood man. 

Thanks to Random House and NetGalley for allowing me to access and review early.

As an aside:
I would be remiss not to mention the center of this story revolves around sexual violence, Hollywood, and power (aka the #MeToo movement). This really isn't on Ms. Steadman, as the role of rape as a plot device is not new, but I would love for storytellers to do more. This story is not explicit in its content and yet the sexual violence committed is leveraged in such a way I feel it hindered my enjoyment of the book.
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Now this? This is what I call one helluva ride and I adored every thrilling, twisty, and dynamic second! 

I started this with no preconceived notions, but was instantly sucked in and could not put it down! 

The Disappearing Act is set in LA where stars are made and dreams are destroyed. A seemingly magical place with more secrets than people! 

Embedded in this book is a strong message regarding the truth of Hollywood and the #metoo movement. It is refreshing to see a suspense novelist (and actress!) taking a plunge into territory that can be harrowing and touchy and to do it so well. 

If you are a fan of the loops on rollercoasters like I am, then you’ll be a fan of Catherine Steadman! I know I will forever be! 

4/5 ✨
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I really enjoyed Catherine Steadman's previous two novels. This one was my least favorite. While I did get into the insiders look into the acting world, this story required a LOT of suspension of belief.  I just kept screaming "WTH is wrong with you??!" in my head at almost EVERYTHING Mia did!  WHY, oh WHY did she not notify authorities on numerous incidents??? The story also moved slower than I would have liked. Overall, not a BAD book, just not great. I will definitely forgive and look forward to the next one.

Thank you to #NetGalley, Catherine Steadman and Random House/Ballentine Books for this ARC!
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I was so grateful and excited to get a copy of The Disappearing Act as an ARC. However, now that I’ve finished it I’m a bit sad that I didn’t pick it up in my the local book store as a summer holiday read. This book is just the perfect accompaniment to sun, lounger, and cocktail. The characters are fun and just the right side of dramatic, the mystery itself is compelling and just the right side of ridiculous and I love the insiders view of life on the front lines of film and TV, which seems to me to be a both dramatic and ridiculous world to inhabit. I love thrillers and murder mysteries, but so many books in those genres are spoiled by lame writing or distasteful levels of detail. Steadman, on the other hand, gets it exactly right. I bet the audiobook for this will be really fun too (which is how I read Something in the Water, also such a fun and twisty book!). Catherine Steadman is probably so much fun to be friends with, such a great story teller, and now with literary as well as showbiz goss (I am only just now making the Downton connection). Don’t make the mistake I did and waste this fabulous book on dreary days in North East, pick it up as your prime summer read and enjoy!
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Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for this eARC. 

I was completely taken with the premise of this novel - a British actress going to Hollywood to try for stardom. Catherine Steadman does not disappoint. 

Although some aspects seem a tad far-fetched (Mia’s single-handed investigation and it’s progress), this is a delicious read for anyone who enjoys suspense and Hollywood. Will definitely recommend to my patrons!
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3.5 stars rounded up to 4! 

Mia Eliot is an up-and-coming British actress and is well-known for her role as Jane Eyre. After her long-time boyfriend ghosts her for a much younger co-star, she hopes to take her success to the next level by flying out to LA during pilot season to land the role of a lifetime. There she meets aspiring actress Emily Bryant at a casting audition and what begins as a simple favor to help out a fellow actress turns dark as Emily suddenly disappears without a trace, leaving Mia with her car keys and wallet. Mia manages to track her down in hopes of returning her wallet and keys, but things get weird pretty quickly when a different woman shows up at her door claiming to be Emily. Mia could just leave it alone and move on with her life, but she can't shake the feeling that the real Emily is in danger. 

While it's marketed as a psychological thriller, I found the story to more of a suspense/mystery. Nonetheless, it was still a fun read and I couldn't put it down. I enjoyed the behind-the-scenes look at Hollywood and it's worth mentioning that the author was a British actress herself, so it was inevitable that she would write a story about the acting world. I found it to be a page-turner and I liked Mia, although she was pretty naive and could have easily avoided putting her own life in danger as well. As I was reading I thought I had the ending figured out, it seemed obvious to me, but after all the twists and turns I was genuinely surprised the direction it had gone. The author is a fantastic writer but for this particular story I wish there was more showing than telling, but I enjoyed it. 

Special thanks to NetGalley, the author Catherine Steadman, and Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine for providing me with a copy of the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. The Disappearing Act is scheduled to be released on June 8, 2021.
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Not only is Catherine Steadman quite steadily one of the best beach thriller (That’s a genre, right? Kinda mindless, but really fun. Sunny. Features sea on the covers.) writers, she’s also quite possibly the best looking one. What kind of a superficial comment is that, you ask? Well, it’s actually pertinent, because prior to her writing career, Steadman was an actress. Still might be, actually. And yet, interestingly enough, it took her until book three to bring all that experience and firsthand behind the scenes knowledge into her writing. But here it is, a thriller that’s a perfect marriage of Steadman’s writing talents and acting career. The perfect storm of write what you know from an author who has already perfected her thriller game.
   And so Mia, the book’s protagonist, seems to have outdone her creator fame wise, she’s just done a starmaking turn as Jane Eyre and amid the talks of the Bafta nomination and in the wake of her actor boyfriend literally trading her in for a younger model, she jets off to LA, to take her mind off things and strike that proverbial iron while she’s red hot. Tinseltown is all agog for the new British it girl, there are auditions, parties and a potential hunky love interest, but Mia gets distracted by a fellow actress who does the eponymous disappearing act on her after a chance meeting at casting. Really distracted. So much so she decides to Nancy Drew this thing to the bitter end instead of leaving it well enough alone. After all, no everyone wants to (or needs to) be found. And so you get to follow Mia’s investigation amid all the tinsel of the town known for it and it’s just as fun as geographically close to the ocean to yet again make it a great beach thriller. Plus such a timely one, MeToo ready for the post Weinstein era.
    I’ve been watching a surprisingly good and addictive Search Party recently and thematically this book went perfectly with season one of that show. Plot wise it’s very much its own thing, though interestingly enough, despite being the one so obviously near and dear to the author on a personal level, it’s also her least compelling book thus far. Or maybe not least compelling, because Steadman’s writing is really compelling by nature, she writes very well (not just well for an actress, either), her books are genuinely tough to put down. It just wasn’t as exciting or as mysterious as its predecessors. It was still very good and the behind the scenes material make it all the more so, but the story itself…much like the first season of Search Party…guess I just wanted more out of plot, more mystery. It isn’t bathetic as such, it just somewhat milder on wow effects.
   Still, though, very enjoyable, very entertaining and lots of fun. LA after dark proves to be a great stage and one of the most famous signs ever makes for an especially striking finale. There are morals and lessons, but in the end it’s all about the high cost of and the irresistible siren song of fame. And irresistible is about right for the general book appeal here too. Don’t fret, as light as it may seem, this is very much the dark psychological thriller you were hoping for, the sunny skies are deceptive. Recommended. Thanks Netgalley.
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Catherine Steadman’s latest thriller, Disappearing Act, keeps the reader guessing at every turn. As Mia struggles to understand what has happened, so does the reader; her intrigue is our intrigue; her confusion is our confusion; her fear is our fear. Steadman does not disappoint with her psychological thriller follow up to Mr. Nobody. Incorporating her flair for suspense and her first hand knowledge of the acting world, Steadman creates every young actress’s worst nightmare that keeps the reader guessing from start to finish.
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