Cover Image: The Disappearing Act

The Disappearing Act

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Member Reviews

A Hollywood tale of glamour, cruelty, and naivety that draws on and upends the stereotypic narrative of lost innocence in the big city. A must read.

Reeling from a painful break up from her longtime boyfriend, Mia Eliot, a British actress, sets out for Los Angeles to take her career to the next level after having garnered a BAFTA nomination for her role in Eyre. Once in Los Angeles, she finds herself drawn into a complicated mystery -- another girl auditioning for the same role as Mia suddenly vanishes after giving Mia her keys and wallet to go feed her parking meter. But even this disappearance is not what it appears to be.

At one level, this story draws on every dark Hollywood stereotype in the book: the lascivious big-time producer, the starry-eyed innocent girl who goes to the big city looking for fame and whose dreams end in disaster, and of course the cutthroat competition between actors for the role of a lifetime. Yet, much like the fictional film, Galatea, a modern take on My Fair Lady, for which Mia is auditioning, The Disappearing Act introduces multiple plot twists that upend the classic outcomes of the above stereotypes.

These reversals in the classic narrative are made believable by the authentic movie business details and by the author's painstaking outlining of Mia's thought processes, i.e., the self-doubts, rationalizations, and imaginative leaps that she makes as she slowly unravels the true story behind Emily's disappearance. This thoughtful character development allows the reader to overlook what otherwise would seem like an unrealistically naive protagonist at the beginning of this tale. But naivety is soon replaced by calculation, and the price for that dream role is exposed.
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British actress Mia Eliot comes to L.A. to audition for several roles.  At one of the auditions, she meets a woman who introduces herself as Emily.  As a favor, she goes to feed the parking meter for her while Emily goes in to audition.  When she gets back with Emily's keys and wallet, Emily has seemingly vanished into thin air and no one, not even the people who were doing the auditions have any idea who Mia is talking about when she tries to inquire about her.  When she finally makes contact days later, the person who comes to her door to get Emily's things, and who says she is Emily, is not the same person Mia met at the audition.  Mia refuses to let it go, not realizing that she is putting her own life on the line in the pursuit of the truth.
I was a huge fan of this author's first book, so I was very excited to get a chance to read and review this book.  I have to admit that I did not enjoy this book quite as much, unfortunately.  Mia was naive to the point of being unbelievable, which was frustrating for me and made it less enjoyable.  It was a good book, just not one of my favorites.
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Read this fast paced book in one sitting.  Interesting look at a slice of Hollywood & what people are willing to do to achieve fame.  Many twists.

I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.c

Will leave a 4 star review on Amazon under name of Connie
Thanks for granting me access to this book
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The Disappearing Act is not the first thriller I’ve read from Catherine Steadman and it probably won’t be the last. The writing in this author’s books does seem to always be incredibly compelling despite my finding a few things that I consider to be slight personal flaws.

In this story Mia Eliot is a British actress who has traveled to Los Angeles to attend several auditions with her chance to actually make it as an actress in Hollywood after a successful part. Mia has been set up in a luxurious apartment in a nice building and given a pricey car to make her way around the city all for a few Instagram posts and can’t believe her luck.

One afternoon however Mia is waiting for her turn at an audition when she meets another young actress, Emily, auditioning for the same part. As the time comes for Emily to go in she gets flustered and says she needs to feed her parking meter. Not wanting to be rushed in either Mia volunteers to do it for Emily taking her things as Emily heads into the audition. After helping Emily out however Mia can’t find her afterwards and begins to worry something has happened.

I picked up this book late one night to begin reading and it was one of those times that I just didn’t want to put it down and kept thinking just one more chapter. The story flows rather well and is completely addictive when it comes to wanting to know what comes next just as I had remembered had happened before with this author. However, I did find something that held me back from a high rating then and now it has happened with a totally different reason. This time I felt I wasn’t overly exited with how the entire book ended which I won’t go into to avoid spoilers but that feeling left me rating this one at three and a half stars.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
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I received a complimentary copy of this book "The Disappearing Act" and all opinions expressed are my own.  It's getting hard to find a good book. This one was not for me. I had it on my kindle for a while and decided I should get to it. I didn't care for the plot or the characters.
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I loved that the book was set in Los Angeles/Hollywood and it was fun being able to get more of perspective of the Hollywood lifestyle. I was hooked from the first page to the last page and the mystery element kept me intrigued. I also loved that I couldn't predict the ending. Absolute 5 star read!
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Hollywood legends, desperate actresses and a break-out role to die for! 

British actress Mia Eliot is a rising star in London after playing the notable role of Jane Eyre. Although she has obtained success in her home country, making it in Hollywood is the obvious next step. At the opening of pilot season in Los Angeles—a time when roles are cast and stars are born—Mia flies to LA for her shot at doing the same. Things are going well for Mia in her back-to-back auditions until a fellow actress and new acquaintance of hers, Emily, disappears during an audition. Mia is the only one who seems to have noticed, and she can't shake the feeling that something very wrong has happened. Balancing her time preparing for what could be the role of a lifetime and searching for Emily, Mia finds herself at the edge of a dangerous path that could lead to total ruin.

I have always been fascinated by the glitz and glamour, triumph and tragedy of old and new Hollywood stories. I loved the embedded history and nods to the spooky past, including the real-life story of Peg Entwistle’s 1930’s death at the base of the Hollywood sign. It’s with this ghost story that Mia’s (and the reader) experiences the LA film industry and its gritty, cutthroat environment for the first time. 

I loved how this story showed echoes of lingering old Hollywood mentalities that still exist in the industry, as a dark undertone in the book. On the flip side, it was fun to be in Mia’s shoes as a rising star who has “people” to handle her logistics, gifting parties to attend, and glamorous movie sets to occupy. There was drama, LA cool vibes, dreams, sweat, and tears. And best of all, in a city full of actors you never know who to trust. Overall, this was a well-rounded thriller. 

This is the 3rd book that I have read and loved by Catherine Steadman and it won’t be my last. What can I say? Catherine Steadman’s writing just works for me. It was a true page turner from start to finish and although much of Mia’s troubles were due to her naivete, this didn’t pull from my enjoyment at all. Loved it!

My Rating: 5 Stars

Thank you, Random House Publishing, Ballantine Books, and NetGalley for my gifted ARC.
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What a crazy ride!!

I’ve read all of Steadman’s books and I think…nope I know…this is my favorite by far. 

This is an interesting one, because I was immediately hooked and for the most part was kept on the edge of my seat. Mia was over the top naive and that lead to moments of me being like yeahhhh nobody would go to these lengths for a stranger. However there were multiple times while reading that I was truly CREEPED out and making sure my doors were locked. I love it when a book does that to me! 

This was definitely a quick hook, slow burn, psychological mystery that I think will make a great summer time beach side read. You’ll fly through this because you just HAVE to know what happens. When a stranger asks you to fill their parking meter; remember your DARE days and JUST SAY NO 🤣

Thank you so much to Netgalley and Penguin Random House for the advanced copy … this was such a fun and wild ride!!
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This did not do it for me. Unfortunately, I really enjoyed the writing style and how well the author can tell a story but quite honesty it was boring. I almost DNF about 3 times. The very beginning of the book the main characters boyfriend who she lived with and loved for 6 years just moved out. No words. No explanation just has a friend move his stuff. This should have been my first inclination not to continue to read as it didn’t sit right with me. Well the entire ex boyfriend storyline didn’t even need to be part of the story. It almost felt like a “fill in” for fluff. I think the overall plot is very unique but focuses much more on the actress in LA than an actual thriller or mystery. While a few parts kept me intrigued the majority of it just didn’t do it for me and I found too many plot holes. What was the entire point of mia meeting Emily? Over a movie script? Seems a little much. I just overall wanted more from the thriller aspect. I’m disappointed because the author is a phenomenal author and great at descriptions and character development but overall the plot fell way too flat for me.
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The Disappearing Act was an enjoyable book that had me anxious to find out what was going on. Author Catherine Steadman is also an award-winning actress from England so she clearly knows her way around the entertainment business. From its glitz and glitter to its dark, ugly side. This is a well-written book with lots of suspense. I did find myself thinking several times, “Mia, what are you doing?” as she was extremely naïve and made some ill-advised decisions. If you can overlook this and simply suspend disbelief, this is a very entertaining book. Any book that can keep me on the edge of my seat like this one did gets a thumbs up.
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✨ The Title/Cover Draw:
I thought I had read something by this author before. Turns out I hadn’t but the premise sounded good so I took a chance. Thank you to @netgalley for letting me read an advance copy of the book. 
💜 What I liked:
This book was such a fast read. It definitely keeps you guessing and the end is very intense. You may think too that the book keeps going when it should be ending, but there is a nice twist that is definitely worth it later!
😱 What I didn’t like:
The story could have been tightened up with some more events or information that the main character discovers thrown in. 
💁‍♀️ The Characters:
Mia is auditioning for roles in LA. Then she meets Emily who promptly disappears. 
🚦 My face at the end: 🙀

💭 5 Reasons to Read:
Very fast paced and a quick read!
Sympathetic main character
Plot twists you THINK you see coming
Intense Ending
Nothing is as it seems


I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Received from Netgalley.
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I have read Catherine Steadman's book and I think this one is my favorite.  I really enjoyed the setting of Los Angeles/Hollywood and getting an interesting perspective of the Hollywood life.  The mystery element kept me on my toes and couldn't predict the ending.  I think that the insider view of acting and Hollywood meshed with an element of suspense keep the book moving and a good pace.  I would recommend this as a great summer/beach read.
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Mia is a British actress whose boyfriend dumps her via text and she runs away to Hollywood to audition during the "pilot season". She meets another young actress named Emily during an audition and then Emily disappears. Emily's disappearance is so odd that it captures Mia's focus. This thriller is good at making you feel that Mia is completely alone-even at the outset when Mia is broken up with via text. At times it was more of a mystery than a thriller but it kept me reading to try to figure out what was going on. This story definitely showcased the dark side of Hollywood.
Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Ballantine for the ARC in return for my honest review.
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OMG! This needs to be on everyone’s TBR !!! Once again Catherine Steadman, has blown me away. 

I have always been a HUGE Catherine Steadman fan but The Disappearing act has solidified it . Hands down this will be a 2021 top seller. 

I absolutely loved the Hollywood scenery with the coming of age British actress , I was up I was down , I just couldn’t stop . I read this book from start to finish without even so much as a bathroom break . 

5 star read !! I can not wait to recommend this to all of my followers !
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A compelling read. Beautifully written, well-thought-out characters, and a developed setting. The thriller components shined through in the most perfect way. I truly enjoyed this one!
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Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine for this advanced reading copy of The Disappearing Act by Catherine Steadman. 

Mia Eliot is a British actress on the rise with a potential BAFTA nomination on the horizon. When Mia experiences an unexpected. change in her relationship she needs a distraction while she waits to hear if the nomination will become more than just a fantasy. Enter pilot season in Los Angeles. Mia heads to the City of Angels to dive headfirst into auditions, parties and the glittering nightlife that everyone expects from Hollywood. When Mia meets and becomes entangled with another young actress at an audition, her life suddenly becomes more dramatic  than the roles that she is auditioning for. 

I quite enjoyed The Disappearing Act, although it wasn't nearly as suspenseful as I was hoping it would be. It had a steady undercurrent of suspense throughout the entirety of the book rather than the one big shocking event that most people expect from thrillers. It was a really good read but I did find myself rolling my eyes at Mia's decision-making skills as the story went on. All in all, I would recommend this to anyone looking for a thriller that isn't too scary or dark. Great beach read, for sure.
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Not for me, I didn’t like the writing style of the book. Will be good for someone who likes short chapters but it felt disjointed, due to the short chapters, I struggled to connect and be invested:
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This was a slow start for me but once I got into it I could not put it down. I finished it in one day! I loved the back and forth of who you perceived to be “good” vs “bad” and how that changed a bit as the story developed. This had me invested to the very end and I could see this being adapted as a movie, tv show or even a podcast. Love this author. This book did not disappoint!
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This book is more a suspenseful mystery than a psychological thriller, but I really liked it. I felt really caught up in Mia's delema and I couldn't stop reading because I wanted to know what the heck happened the Emily. I also liked how part of the plot had a #MeToo vibe. It is a subject that we should never stop talking about and it doesn't just happen in Hollywood.

Now, this was a great book that I couldn't help but to devour. From start to finish I didn't want to put it down and with every newfound clue into Emily's disappearance, I was pulled deeper and deeper into the plot. This is truly one of those "just one more chapter" books only, you'll say that right up to the very end and even then, you'll want more. Overall, this was a quick and enjoyable novel and I would definitely read another book by this author.
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Fans of Catherine Steadman’s Something in the Water (such as myself) will be equally intrigued by her newest thriller, The Disappearing Act!

Mia is an up-and-coming actress who flies from her home in London out to LA to pursue the possibility of making it big in Hollywood. At one of her auditions, she meets another young actress, Emily, who mysteriously disappears afterwards, leaving Mia with the last traces of her existence. Just as Mia is reaching for her biggest role yet, she’s being pulled into Emily’s life, which may threaten everything she’s built for herself.

I read this compulsively, in just a few sittings. Steadman is brilliant at creating that creepy, unsettled feeling in this book (as in her others), that you know something is off but you simply cannot put your finger on it. While the plot felt a little slow in the first half, the second half saw a steady buildup that will keep readers turning pages.

What I loved about this book - when an Emily look-alike showed up at Mia’s door to collect her wallet and keys. CREEPY! So mysterious, and we see Mia already challenging these strange circumstances. This really made me want to keep reading. Additionally, at the end when Mia meets with Marla, it’s not clear how much Marla can be trusted until the stakes are too high. I was constantly thinking, what would I do in this situation? Sometimes, I questioned whether a real person in Mia’s shoes would have done what she did, but then again, there would be no book without Mia, so it’s easy to set that aside.

I also felt like the depiction of Hollywood was accurate and compelling. It’s not hard to believe that what happened to Emily (at least, the assault) would happen for real (in fact, we KNOW it has) and that there’s shady business going on in Hollywood. The characters driving this story will do almost anything for the fame and success they are seeking out, even if that means sacrificing their moral values. I loved the ending - satisfying, with one last surprise for the reader, and with Mia realizing that although she’s happy with her career, it’s not worth the life-threatening turmoil that she and the other characters have gone through.

Overall, the perfect summer thriller!
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