Cover Image: The Photographer

The Photographer

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Member Reviews

Delta is a brilliant photographer who can manipulate photos to create the perfect image. But as she creates a life for herself through images, can she also manipulate real events to mirror the photos of her perfect life? This is a creepy story of a female stalker who has found the perfect life- except that it belongs to someone else.
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Stars: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5
Rating: 7/10
Narrator: 🎧🎧🎧🎧/5
Publisher: Macmillan Audio / Minotaur

The Photographer was a quick and addicting domestic suspense novel. Delta Dawn is a talented photographer who is welcomed into the lives of an elite family in New York City, Amelia and Fritz. Delta was hired to take photos of their daughter, Natalie’s, birthday party. She quickly becomes an important babysitter/friend for Natalie and confidant for Amelia. Delta is a gifted photographer who knows how to edit flawless photos. She’s a master manipulator. Overall I would recommend this entertaining domestic suspense thriller. It gave me vibes similar to The Push, which was also great. 

Thank you, Macmillan Audio, NetGalley, and Minotaur, for this gifted copy in exchange for my honest review.
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Thanks to NetGalley and Macmillan Audio for sending me an ARC of The Photographer in exchange for an honest review.

The Photographer is a bit of a throwback to 1990s movies like Single White Female and The Hand that Rocks the Cradle. Like those ‘roommate from hell’ or ‘nanny from hell’ movies, The Photographer is about a ... family photographer from hell.

Delta Dawn is hired by Amelia and Fritz Straub to take pictures at their daughter Natalie’s eleventh birthday party. Delta is a crazy talented photographer, and throughout the book she offers what sound like pretty sharp observations about photography and art. Unfortunately for the Straubs, Delta is also just plain crazy. And once she decides she wants to ingratiate herself into the Straub family, she puts a series of plans in motion to become an indispensable part of their lives.

Psychological thrillers are everywhere nowadays, and so many of them follow the Gone Girl template: chapters with alternating perspectives, and a big twist halfway through that changes the reader’s understanding of the story. The Photographer charts a different course, as there’s no big twist and the entire novel is told from Delta’s first-person perspective. Overall, it’s quite effective. Being inside Delta’s head is unsettling because you’re never sure what you can believe. Her stories change over time so you’re never quite sure what’s actually true, and her perceptions are so questionable that you never know if she is correctly interpreting the actions of those around her. She’s a puzzle, but an interesting one.

Having the entire story told from Delta’s mind does create limitations. It feels a bit one-note at times. Although the Straubs and a couple of other characters are fleshed out to a degree, Delta’s perception of them is so untrustworthy and transactional that they don’t feel like three dimensional characters. And I’m not sure the story makes logical sense from start to finish. While I enjoyed the ending, it really could not have been her plan from the very start. In fact, I don’t think she really crafted it until quite late, which left me wondering what exactly was her original endgame. Then again, maybe crazy just goes with the flow and doesn’t have a preplanned endgame. 

Finally, a word about the audiobook narration, performed by the author herself. I thought she did a great job. Obviously she knew exactly how she wanted Delta to sound, and executed it well. She has an interesting voice, and gave Delta a bit of a dreamy, disconnected tone that enhanced her creepy crazy vibe.

The Photographer is a strong debut novel. 3.5 stars rounded up to 4. Recommended.
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I’d rate this one as a 3.5-4.  It’s the tale of images and perceptions.  What one person views and understands can always be tweaked and interpreted differently by another.  The only question you must ask is which one is right and which is insane.  Thanks to NetGalley for the early read.
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I requested The Photographer audiobook from Netgalley as it was under the general fiction category. I was expecting a nice suspense book. It definitely had some suspense but not a lot. 

The Photographer is about Delta Dawn who is a photographer. She is hired by the Straub family for their 11 year old daughters birthday party. Delta ends up falling in love and being envious of the Straubs. To put it simply, she wants to be one of them in every way possible. She manipulates her way into their life in a very personal way. The way she views life is through her camera and she uses those photos to manipulate them to create the life she wants.

Some reviews have said that Delta is crazy, however, I would disagree. I would say she suffers from a mental illness. She is so envious of this family that she can't see herself being anywhere else. She creates a fictitious life for herself and others. She manipulates those around her to get what she ultimately wants.

For me the story fell flat. There was not a ton of suspense and there was nothing really to draw you in. To be honest, I actually sped up the reading speed to get through the book quicker.

I also was not fond of the narrator either. She did a good job expressing emotion but her reading style just did not do it for me.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars because the story was flat. There was no draw for me. I sped up the reading speed to finish it. Honestly, if it had not been an audiobook then I may not have completed it.
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Delta Dawn's photographs say thousands of words, but not all of them are true. She is sought after by affluent parents who admire her ability to document their family events in only the best light. Will Delta go too far when she tries to Photoshop her real life the way she does her photographs?

I could not put this one down. Delta is such a compelling character and I wanted to see what she would do next. By "compelling" I really mean certifiably bat shit but in the best way.

If you love a good train wreck as much as I do, then this is the book for you. I listened to the audiobook and the narrator did a great job.

Thank you NetGalley and Macmillan Audio for this ARC audiobook.
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This book was a page turner from beginning to end. Very captivating with amazing character development. A photographer who has stalker tendencies. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
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Delta Dawn is a photographer. She captures special moments for others to look back on, but she also keeps them for herself. When she is photographing a birthday for a very wealthy family, she feels like something is different about them. She has seen many wealthy families but this one draws her. She slowly inches herself into their lives. First by offering to babysit their daughter when theirs canceled at the last minute. It all grows from there until she will do anything to make sure there is no way they can stop her from being with their family. 

I found this book very different than books I have read in the past especially because it is a thriller. What is different is that we aren’t waiting for the reveal at the end. This book comes right out and tells you that the main character is basically crazy. She does some very weird stuff in her free time. But this isn’t to say the book is a waste of your time. There is still a reveal at the end it just isn’t like an earth-shattering one, more like I can’t believe that is what ended up happening. Then also throughout the book, we get small little reveals and more things that just had my head shaking.

I am really glad I read this book because it kept me entertained throughout the whole thing. The book is told from this main girl's perspective and so it was interesting to hear her thoughts (as crazy as they were) all to get close to this family and intertwine herself into their lives.

I also thought the narrator for this book did a pretty good job. I don’t recall any special additive in this audiobook but I felt like the reading helped me get into the mindset of the character. She read it in a way that you would imagine someone a little messed up in the head would sound. She read in a very straightforward way without a lot of emotion when portraying the girl's thoughts and feelings. There was emotion when she spoke the words of the other characters and also when the main character spoke to others. But when it was just her inner thoughts there was a void. To me, this showed the façade the character was putting on for others.

I think what made this book less of a thriller was that it wasn’t like Delta was going to turn into a murder who watches the family through their windows. She seems pretty normal until she is alone trying to work toward her addenda.  Not much was hidden from us as the reader, so it isn’t suspenseful but I think it was a good story more focused on telling the story and less on trying to shock the readers.

 To sum it up this book was a twisty, dark, and entertaining thriller, with a family obsessive, photographer/photo manipulator as the main character.
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Very fun thriller! I am a photographer and have to say this was a real treat for me! Definitely some creep factor in there with some twists and turns. Author did a great job with describing emotions of photographs and photoshop. Narrator did was great too.
Great book!
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I went back and forth between the digital ARC and audiobook for this one.  There was no problem going back and forth between the two.  The narration "voice" matches perfectly for obvious reasons.  I did find it to be read very slowly.  The entire book had that same slow moving pace.

The book is basically what happened when a psychopath meets a narcissist.  Delta Dawn (go ahead and finish singing before we move on) is a sought after photographer.  She first seems too be, at the very least, socially awkward.  She does not really know how or why people behave and does her best to mirror what she sees.  As time goes on, you get to know that this is not just to fit in, but extremely manipulative on her part.  

Delta becomes far too obsessed with a family she photographs for their daughter's birthday party.  Obsession manifests as a lot of creepy little behaviors and grows into full on infiltration.  Delta weaves herself into the Straub's life and home, even when it means she has to cut someone else out of it.  There is a slow building tension as she ramps up her behavior from that's weird to manipulation to cuckoo crazy pants.  

The Straub's unbelievably let her into their lives far more than most people would have.  The mother is unaware of the feelings or motives of others, seeing everything through her thick veil of narcissism.  Her husband is mostly absent, seeming to avoid the home and family as much as possible.  Only Natalie, the daughter, really sees Delta.  And she seems fascinated most of the time.

The Photographer was one of those slow burning books.  I don't always like those because they are often boring for long periods of time in an attempt to lull the reader.  This was just one truly creepy thing after another until it has to fall apart.  I look forward to seeing what Mary Dixie Carter can do in the future.  https://readeotw.wordpress.com
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Wow! This book has a lot to unpack! I’d definitely classify this as a slow burn, and it did keep my interest, but overall ended up falling flat for me.
Delta Dawn is a New York based photographer, specializing in children’s birthday parties. She has a gift for taking an average photo and making it extraordinary...almost like something that it is not entirely. When Delta is hired by the Straub’s to shoot their daughter’s birthday party she soon finds herself obsessed with them and willing to do anything, I mean anything, just to be closer to them. This book definitely kept me guessing what was going to happen next, like how could these people get any creepier?! Many times, especially at the very end, it was hard to tell the difference between reality and the character’s imaginations. The whole thing definitely gives off a late night Lifetime movie type vibe. I enjoyed the narration and love that the author narrated her own book. Thank you to NetGalley and Macmillan Audio for an advanced digital copy of this audiobook.
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The Photographer was truly one of the most disturbing books I have read in a long long time. It was not scary, but it was creepy to know that some individuals truly think like the main character. In short, because of this novel, Mary Dixie Carter seriously had me rethinking the babysitters and photographers that I had planned to hire in the future.

Delta Dawn is a children's photographer who is hired to photograph birthdays. While photographing the birthday party of Natalie Straub, Delta quickly finds herself wishing to be closer and even a part of the family. Delta begins babysitting Natalie, befriending her mom, and eventually ends as the surrogate for the Straud's baby. 

This book was written well, it was smooth, and there weren't any major plot holes that I noticed. I didn't "enjoy" reading the book because it was such a disturbing subject, but I didn't want to put it down because I wanted to see just how crazy Delta would get.  

Listening to this audiobook really added to the experience. The author, Mary Dixie Carter, really did a great job portraying the various characters with her voice. She spoke clearly which allowed me the option of speeding the book up by up to 2x, however I mainly hovered around 1.5x. The narrator also did a great job matching her voice to the situations that were occuring in the book which is often one of the biggest pitfalls that I notice in audiobooks. 

Thank you NetGalley and Macmillan Audio for the ALC in return for an honest review.
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2.5 stars
The Photographer, by Mary Dixon Carter, is the story of Delta Dawn (yes, named after the song title), a photographer of children’s parties, who creates a life for herself through the images she snaps. Not only does she create a fictional life through photos of families that she’s saved in her personal, edited files, but she further inserts and ingratiates herself into the actual lives of certain subjects in order to secure a family of her own.

This domestic suspense novel is one of the most bizarre, disjointed, disturbing novels I have read in quite awhile. I listened to the audio-version and the narrator had a remarkably bland intonation, almost monotone, perhaps by choice, and the characters she voiced were a bit odd and manufactured, in my opinion. 

The main character, Dawn, who narrates the plot in the story, has a tendency to list details of her surroundings, thoughts and observations in a dry, objective manner. Again, perhaps this is purposeful, but it is a risky plot device as it can distance the reader from the character and has the potential to become monotonous. Dawn also uses odd word choices and phrases that are stilted and unnatural. 

The secondary main character, Amelia, is highly unbelievable in her neurotic extremities and outbursts. And Dawn’s descriptions and thought narrations of various Straub family members are almost erotic in nature. 

The plot also lacked cohesion in that it seemed to skip a plot point from time-to-time, as if a few pages had been deleted from the text. 

Perhaps all of this was remarkably ingenious on the author’s part and a means of giving us a clear, unadulterated picture into the character’s delusional mind. If that’s the case, she succeeded, and I’m sure many will find this to be a compulsive, addictive and unique story. The Photographer is a crazy ride, for sure, but for me, it was too unbelievable, incohesive and uncomfortably outlandish.
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Delta Dawn quickly becomes obsessed with the family who hires her to photograph their daughter's birthday.  
There is no confusion or slow build - Delta is clearly unhinged, desperately searching to make a lasting connection.  
She offers to babysit Natalie after the birthday party, taking advantage of the opportunity.  She pokes around, takes pictures of the house.  Begins to envision ownership.
Delta builds a quick friendship with Amelia,  playing upon Amelia's self obsession.  She befriends Natalie- providing much needed attention and support.  
Chilling. Unhinged.  Cringe moments. The plot could use some polish.
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I was not crazy about The Photographer by Mary Dixie Carter for what it was described to be. I thought it was just okay in thrill factor though it does do a number on you psychologically. The protagonist is creepy and frankly crazy. Carter does an excellent job developing Delta, the photographer. By the end of the book, you feel like you know her and have her all figured out. Being able to figure her out, though, definitely took away from the thrill and suspense. Much of the narrative was predictable. For a debut novel, it is well written delivering the story and the twists clearly and completely. But it lacked a certain punch that I always like to feel in phycological thrillers. I never felt my pulse quicken or my stomach lurch as I often do with a great thriller. This one lacked that suspense. I enjoyed this audiobook for an easy listen and a creepy story but it didn't wow me.
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This book was ADDICTING! I'm so glad that I was able to read and listen to an advanced copy! I loved this story of obsession as experienced from the lens and eyes of a photographer. The first-person point of view and insights into Delta's mind were utterly fascinating. Fritz and Amelia Straub hired her to photograph their daughter Natalie's birthday party, and that very same night, she's babysitting for them. Who does that? Little by little, Delta skillfully embeds herself into the Straub's lives. She wasn't oblivious to the family's exploitations but instead chose to avoid facing that inevitable reality, alternatively preferring her manufactured brand of truth, her twisted photos, and 'memories'. I would have loved a deep dive into this character's past to discover the hows and the whys behind Delta Dawn's personality, although I'm sure mental illness plays a big part. 

I got a kick out of the book's ending, and I'm eagerly looking forward to chatting about this one with my #nerdherdgroup buddy read later this month!
 
Many thanks to the author Mary Dixie Carter and the publishers Macmillan Audio and Minotaur Books for my advanced copies. I have honestly and voluntarily reviewed this title.
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Delta Dawn (I would picture Monica singing karaoke with her see through shirt every time her name was mentioned, lol) is a photographer. But not a normal photographer. She likes to alter her photographs to fulfill fantasies.

The Straub family, her newest clients, become her new obsession. Not only does she infiltrate their lives digitally, she goes beyond and inserts herself into their daily lives.

Delta is a complete sociopath and listening to her inner thoughts is both eerie and entertaining.

While the book kept me interested, I didn't love it, either. At times, it was too far fetched for my logical brain. I also feel there were some missed opportunities (view spoiler)

I listened to the audio version of the book. The narration was clear. A bit slowly paced- I contemplated adjusting the speed.

Overall, a decent read. If nothing else, an inside look into a crazy person's head.

I received a digital copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Aw man...! I really wanted to like this one because it has a great premise. I love stories of obsession and rich people problems... but I got the audio of this and I'm sorry to say, I couldn't do the narration. It looks like the author narrates it, and I wasn't enjoying it. I might pick this one up again in print, but since I'm reviewing the audio version it's only fair to share my thoughts! DNF'ed at 20%.
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I completed The Photographer as an audiobook and it was read by the author. Her voice was made to read this book! She made it perfectly creepy, and it fit the character entirely.

I found parts to be a tad predictable, but I was invested in the outcome and curious to see how my predictions played out.

We recently moved to a new neighborhood and this also kind of creeped me out about meeting new people!
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Wow, what a story!!  A psychological thriller that was interesting but much of it was completely unbelievable!  Amelia and Fritz hire a photographer Delta Dawn to photograph their 11 year old daughters birthday party. 

Delta obviously was psychotic!  She did some crazy mind blowing things but it still fell short from reality.  Delta was very stalkerish but never really did anything. I saw the ending coming. It was a good read but I hoped for so much more. 

Thank you NetGalley for allowing me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.
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