Cover Image: The Photographer

The Photographer

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Delta Dawn is a young photographer who gets an up close and personal look into the lives of NYC’s elite. During one particular children’s birthday party celebration, Delta decides she has to infiltrate this family’s seemingly perfect life.

She befriends the mom, offers to babysit, and quickly makes herself indispensable to the Straub family. How far will she go to secure her own picture perfect life?

This book has ALL the creepy vibes. If you’re someone who questions motives and intentions at every turn, this will get your spidey senses firing on overdrive. It’s a psychological suspense novel that’s a pretty slow burn, but is intriguing enough to keep you wondering what’s going to happen next.

The audiobook was narrated beautifully by the author. I typically only love author-narrated audio in memoirs, but I think Carter really pulls it off. Thanks to MacMillan Audio and Minotaur Books for an ALC for this title!
Was this review helpful?
If you suspend belief, this book is quite the entertaining read.  Delta Dawn is a gifted photographer.  When she meets the Straubs at Natalie’s eleventh birthday party, she no longer wants to be behind the camera, but a part of their lives. She quickly becomes obsessed and finds any way she can to be a part of their lives by making herself indispensable.  The more she becomes entrenched in their lives, the more she craves.  A slightly creepy stalkerish tale, with an ending that probably won’t surprise many. As I listened to this one, I didn’t care for the narrators voice.  It lacked the emotion needed to carry the story.  Fortunately, I had it in book form as well and ended up reading it instead.
Was this review helpful?
This story is about obsession and wow is it crazy how someone could just weasel their way in to a family like this! I was expecting a bit more craziness to happen. But it was pretty crazy. I’m not entirely sure what really motivated Delta. It felt like her objectives changed. I feel like it was a solid read and it was well written but i did want a little more from it. I think Delta was definitely deranged but then so was Amelia. Her obsession with having a child perhaps made her so blinded. I liked this story but i think it could have been elevated a little more. The audio was fine but it was a little flat to me.
Was this review helpful?
From my blog: Always With a Book:

I was lucky to be part of the cover reveal for this book back in November and have been excited about this book ever since. And then when the book landed, it came with such a fun marketing package – not only the book, but a viewfinder as well! How fun is that? And what a great clue as to what we were in store for once we started reading this book!

I am such a fan of obsession tales and this one is definitely one crazy tale! It reminds me a little of Joe from Caroline Kepnes’ You series, though Delta Dawn isn’t quite as psycho as Joe. A photographer that not only uses the photo editor programs a little too much, she also has this weird ability to learn way too much about the families she works for. She clearly has no boundaries when it comes to other people’s lives and can be quite manipulative when she needs to be.

It was interesting that we are given just enough about Delta’s character that she still remains a bit of a mystery throughout the book. I would have liked a deeper dive into her psyche. What was it that made her the way she is because her behaviors are border on creepy and are definitely out of control at times.

This book is not a super twisty book, but it did keep me engaged as I was so eager to find out just how far Delta was willing to go. It had some little surprises that I was not expecting and the ending was satisfying. This is definitely an addicting, entertaining read for sure. I will certainly be keeping an eye out for what comes next from this author!


Audio thoughts:

I had the opportunity to listen to this one and it translates really well on audio. The author herself narrates it and she does a good job with it. She really brought the crazy to Delta, which considering she wrote the character, she knew just how to bring out all the right nuances for the character.
Was this review helpful?
"It's amazing what you can do with visualization. All you need to do is create memories...Memories are images we create in our minds...Who's to say that the memory I create is any less "true" than the original one?"

Delta Dawn (yes just like the song) believes every word of the above quote  in the very disturbing The Photographer by debut author Mary Dixie Carter.

Delta is a talented photographer making her living taking pictures of wealthy NYC families. She can make the brattiest kid look angelic during their birthday party.

When Delta infiltrates herself into the lives of the Straub family we start to realize she can manipulate more than just pictures. She subtlety makes herself indispensable to them as she takes over their lives. At least that is the image in her mind.

This story emphasizes the psychology in psychological thriller. There aren't huge WTF moments or twisty turns but there is creepiness in Delta's obsessions.

I also listened to the Audiobook which is superbly narrated by the author. She is an actress so reading this first person account of her own words was a tour de force in acting. She brought a whole new level to Delta's delusions that gave me chills. There is also a great discussion between the author and writer Jennifer Hillier included in the audio.

We learn that Delta's parents were janitors at Disneyland. All I could think was there is not a better education in illusions then growing up in Disneyland. I thought this was brilliant background to Delta's upbringing.

This writer has created a character that is compelling, mesmerizing, creepy and the definition of manipulation. 

I received a free copy of this book and audiobook from the publishers via #NetGalley
for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
I really liked this audio-book. I can't say I loved it, but it kept my interest. Delta Dawn is a photographer, weddings, birthdays, children's parties. She finds herself taking photos for a family that she would like to be a part of so she figures out a way to do just that.
The author is also the narrator. I'm not sure that was the best choice. Her voice used for the mother was very irritating. Maybe that was intentional. anyway it is an interesting story and it kept me guessing what Delta would do next to achieve her goals. round up to 3.5 Thanks to #netgalley and #MacMilllan audio for the ARC
Was this review helpful?
I fought a few battles with this book.  First of all, it was a slow start for me.  In addition, I found most of the characters in this book completely unlikable.  All of this combined to make it difficult for me to invest in the book the way I would have liked to.  However, it was an original idea with a strong creep factor.  The main character, Delta was flat out crazy.  I would have liked more of her back story.  It would have helped to understand why she was that way.  I feel like we were given snippets of her past but never knew what was real and what was her twisted perception of reality.  

Overall, this was a good debut with a creative storyline.

Regarding the audiobook, I think the narration fits the storyline quite well.  It's done by the author and she captures Delta's inner voice perfectly.  I believe that is an advantage to having the author narrate the story -- they know exactly how the character's emotions should be expressed.

Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC.  I voluntarily chose to review this audiobook and the opinions contained within are my own.
Was this review helpful?
addictive psychological thriller and let me tell you it is a crazy, twisted, page turner of a read filled with lies,  secrets and manipulation. 

We follow Delta, a photographer  that captures New York City's elite.  Her life begins to change when she is hired to photograph a birthday for  Amelia and Fritz Straub's daughter. Delta begins to emerse herself in the Straub's when she begins babysitting  for their 11 year old daughter Natalie and becoming friends with her mother. While babysitting Delta goes a little too far, snooping into the Straub's life and struggles of having another baby. Delta becomes obsessed with the Straub's and determined to be part of their lives and family. Delta knows she must become a suggoragate for the Straub's, but how far will Delta go to get what she wants?
Was this review helpful?
For a debut novel, this book was okay. It's a mystery/thriller with a story that has been done before, and unfortunately, it doesn't bring anything new or exciting to the genre to make it really stand out. 

It's a fast-paced read that I finished in a day, and I did feel unsettled by Delta's obsession with the Straub's family. I would have liked some more unexpected twists in the story. 

This is a great book though if you're looking for something quick to read that's entertaining, but nothing special. 
2.5 Stars

#NetGalley #thephotographer #AudioARC
Was this review helpful?
Mary Dixie Carter narrates her debut novel in a steady, consistently edgy story of obsession, drama, and suspense. In the audiobook version of The Photographer, Carter becomes the voice of the very disturbed character she created, Delta Dawn. A photographer in New York City, Delta captures memories of children's birthday parties in photos of their festive events.  
     There is nothing to celebrate though, when Delta immediately becomes obsessed with her clients Fritz, Amelia and their daughter. Delta visualizes images of her clients in her mind, leading her to edit her photos to match these troubling scenes. The imagery became real when Delta strategically immerses herself totally in the lives of this family. This audiobook is a chilling listen for a stormy Saturday night, but it will also add a dark intensity to a sunny Summer day.  Carter delivers a novel that lovers of twisted, family suspense will devour, and then wait anxiously for her next book. 

Thank you to Macmillan Audio and Minotaur Books for an Advanced Reader's Copy of The Photographer in audiobook format.
#NetGalley  #ThePhotographer
Was this review helpful?
Reading Between the Wines book review #58/115 for 2021:
Rating: 4 🍷 🍷 🍷 🍷
Book 🎧: The Photographer
Author: Mary Dixie Carter
Genre: General Fiction (Adult)
Recommended to readers who would like the marriage of Single White Female meets You. 

Sipping thoughts: Delta Dawn (cool name, I know right) is definitely the female version of Joe Goldberg from the book You but a little less intense and crazy. Carter writes this book in a way that you feel sorry for Delta rather than enraged or upset. This book takes you on a journey of obsession, love, heartache, and loss with the psychological thrills added.  

Cheers and thank you to @NetGalley, @marydixiecarter and @MacmillanAudio for an advanced copy of @ThePhotographer

#MaryDixieCarter #ThePhotographer #MacmillanAudio #NetGalley #advancedreadercopy #ARC #Kindle #Booksofinstagram #readersofinstagram #bookstagram #nicoles_bookcellar #bookworm #bookdragon #booknerd #booklover #bookstagrammer #bookaholic #bookreview #bookreviewer #IHaveNoShelfControl #ReadingBetweenTheWines #fiction #generaladultfiction
Was this review helpful?
The Photographer is not the most polished thriller I've ever read. It's not the most watertight plot I've ever encountered. But The Photographer doubles down on creepiness, and it ends up being the winning bet.

From the beginning, the protagonist appears to be quite a unique and singular individual. As we begin to explore beneath the surface, it only gets worse (or better?). 

I don't want to spoil anything, so I'll stop there. But I would definitely recommend The Photographer to anyone who enjoys psychological horror or thrillers.
Was this review helpful?
Three unimpressed stars for this one for me, unfortunately...

I thought it was decent, but I never really got "hooked" into the story like most psychological thrillers....this felt rather dull and not edge of your seat paced like most thrillers that I read....It didn't have much of a creep factor either like the cover would lead you to believe. Delta Dawn, yes, named after the song, is the main character, and she's a highly sought after children's party photographer for elite families....and then she comes to the party of Amelia's daughter Natalie, and the parents have an emergency at the end of the party and Delta ends up staying to babysit for them....and they form a friendship....but Delta has ulterior motives.....

I'm sure some people will enjoy this more than I did, it wasn't bad at all...I just kept waiting for more. And the ending didn't excite me...I knew where it was going. I listened to this on audiobook thanks to NetGalley and the narration was strong and easy to keep your mind focused, it was narrated by the author herself and I think she did a great job narrating Delta. The book is rather short, the audio is only 8.5 hours long including a 20 minute interview with the author at the end, so I finished it in two sittings on 2x speed!

Thanks Netgalley!
Was this review helpful?
3.5 Stars

Creepy and suspenseful!
A #bookstagrammadedoit read, after seeing it all over I decided to listen to the audio version. I had a hard time at first to really engage with the story, it felt slow for me, but I was intrigued by Delta’s character since the first chapter so I kept going, and I’m glad I did. The story was gripping and twisty, and by the end I just couldn’t stop listening. 
A great and solid debut from this author and I’ll be looking to more books from this author in the future!

Thank you NetGalley and Macmillan Audio for this ALC.

The Photographer by Mary Dixie Carter releases May 25, 2021.
Was this review helpful?
I enjoyed this book very much. It was filled with creepy obsession and and fabrication.  The story line kept me wanting to know how it would end. The narration was done by the author and was done well. Thanks to NetGalley for the privilege to read and review this book.
Was this review helpful?
Delta Dawn makes her living as a photographer of the well-heeled elite of NYC. She knows just how to manipulate and photoshop the pictures to make everything look perfect, and is hired by Amelia and Fitz to photograph their daughter Natalie’s birthday party. As the day progresses and conversations are overheard, it becomes clear to Delta that they have something she wants, and she can give them something they want. She hatches a plan to make herself indispensable to the family and manipulates circumstances to ingratiate herself with the family. Pictures aren’t the only thing Delta can manipulate.

What does she want? More than what we are told from the beginning. Told exclusively from Delta’s POV, this is a tale of envy and obsession by a master manipulator. What she does to accomplish her goal is totally creepy as the lines between what is real and what exists only in her mind is blurred. Amelia has obsessions of her own, as we soon discover. And Natalie, the 11-year-old? Turns out she’s the savviest of them all. 

Sure you have to suspend some disbelief, but I accept that in this genre. It was still a fun read! I’m learning to just go with the flow and I'm enjoying this genre on audio very much.

Note: I do not recommend the audio version, read by the author. Intentional or not, her voice and cadence was very slow and robotic with poor sound quality, as if she was talking into a tin can. I always increase the speed on audiobooks to approximate my own reading speed while keeping the voice(s) normal, but in this case nothing helped. I had to work hard to separate my dislike of the narration from the story itself.
Was this review helpful?
First of all thank you to Net Galley for letting me read this for the actual book.  What a read this book was.  At first I thought awe this is going to be a nice story of making new friends through your actual job and building on that friendship to see where it goes.  WOW I realized that was not what was going to happen at all. How one person can make so many fabrications and keep those all straight is above and beyond me.  This story had all the weird psychological twists that I really enjoy in a good book.   The fact that there was an actual story that kept my attention and kept me wanting to read to find out what the outcome would be and how all the characters would be affected in the end was great too.  I Look forward to reading more by this Author.
Was this review helpful?
The Photographer by Mary Dixie Carter
Narrated by: Mary Dixie Carter
Publication Date: May25, 2021
Description from NetGalley...
“When Perfect Images...As a photographer, Delta Dawn observes the seemingly perfect lives of New York City’s elite: snapping photos of their children’s birthday parties, transforming images of stiff hugs and tearstained faces into visions of pure joy, and creating moments these parents long for.

Are Made of Beautiful Lies...But when Delta is hired for Natalie Straub’s eleventh birthday, she finds herself wishing she wasn’t behind the lens but a part of the scene—in the Straub family’s gorgeous home and elegant life.

The Truth Will Be Exposed...That’s when Delta puts her plan in place, by babysitting for Natalie; befriending her mother, Amelia; finding chances to listen to her father, Fritz. Soon she’s bathing in the master bathtub, drinking their expensive wine, and eyeing the beautifully finished garden apartment in their townhouse. It seems she can never get close enough, until she discovers that photos aren’t all she can manipulate. 
Thank you to @netgalley @minotaurbooks the ALC in return for my honest review. 
My thoughts...
This was a slow burn. The plot reminded me of the movies The Hand That Rocks The Cradle and Single White Female mashed up. The psychological thriller theme was interesting, but I expected more thrill. Unfortunately, this wasn’t for me. The pace was too slow for me, where I was left hoping something would finally happen. I don’t know whether the actual book would be better, the audio narration was okay. If you enjoy slow burn psychological thrillers, this might be the book for you.
Was this review helpful?
*Rarely have I enjoyed when an author narrates her own book, but this is one of those exceptions. She knows Delta and her core. She brings it to life perfectly.*

This will be a devisive book. It won't be for everyone. This isn't a typical thriller beach read. And don't get me wrong. This isn't me judging anyone. I love those. I'm trash for them. This book?

There is some thinking involved. Your moral compass will be tested, maybe permantly shifted. Told from the first person narrative- from Delta- the "antaganonist." But good luck liking any of the characters.  Morally gray characters? Try morally gray book. Delta's a mess but no one is innocent. Except Natalie.

It is easy to describe her as the villain, peg her as dangerous and the single white female type. And I'm not arguing the typecast. BUT to just stop there and not delve deeper on the sacrificed she makes for the Straubs, and how they used her? Mistake.

What she does with her photography is creepy, sure. But it is harmless in reality. When she inserts herself into the family's life? Look. Ok. Her intent for them is good, truly. But yeah it benefits her and her needs, of courde. But there is no getting around how they use her, too. They're all guilty.

If you like thrillers where everyone has a motive and noone is good or bad but seriously unlikable. One where you have to think through the morality of everyone's actions and self reflect because... shit I don't even know... you will love this book.

It is completely unique. Completely different and refreshing. I loved it. But it isn't for everyone.

"I'd like to have some choices,"<Natalie> said.

"You'll create your own choices " <Delta> said, "like I do.
Was this review helpful?
The Photographer was a different sort of psychological thriller than I'm used to. Although it was a quicker read, it was rather slow paced and felt like a lot of nothing was happening. It was slow to build and we were getting to know our narrator, Delta Dawn throughout since it is told all from her POV (which I'm not too keen on with thrillers). It was reminiscent of those 80's and 90's films like Single White Female. Always wanting what others have and doing what one needed to do to get it.

Delta is a photographer in NY. She shoots primarily children and seems to have a real connection with her subjects and their families. When the Straub family (Amelia and Fritz) hires her for their daughter, Natalie's birthday party, an unusual friendship begins to form between Delta and Amelia (the mother). As a photographer, Delta can really change the perspective of the world. She can manipulate the audience into seeing what she believes they want to see and what she thinks is the better version. Isn't that what social media and the world of digital photography is about? Putting your best foot forward? That was how I was getting to view Delta's world. Since the story is told all from her view, I didn't know how reliable of narrator she was. But it was quite obvious from the beginning WHO she was.

I listened to the audio of this book and was quite mesmerized with the narrator (who just happened to be the author of the book). She had a dreamy feel for Delta's voice. Even though I felt I needed to suspend my belief in what Delta was doing, she still put me at ease with how Mary Dixie Carter portrayed her. And the way she tackled Amelia and that upper class voice, really put a face on her. I wanted to root for Delta because of this. Is Delta an unreliable narrator or is Amelia really that clouded in judgment and so focused on what she wants that she doesn't care what is right in front of her?

Overall, the book was entertaining and ok. I liked the premise, but felt like it was a bit slow and I wanted more to happen. I was waiting for a huge climax but felt like it was a story that just petered along. Nothing too surprising took place, but I was invested enough to see how everything played out. If you're looking to suspend a bit of believability for a bit and just want some Single White Female entertainment, I think you'd enjoy this book. 
I'll be curious what comes next from this author. 3+ stars
Was this review helpful?