Book Review: When She Disappeared by Steph Mullin and Nicole Mabry

“Someone is determined to bury what happened.”

When She Disappeared by Steph Mullin and Nicole Mabry sees Margo return to her hometown of Lake Moss. She hasn’t been back since her school friend went missing fifteen years ago. But as she returns, the news breaks: Jessie’s body has been found. Digging out her old diary, and steeling herself to face unfriendly ghosts of the past, Margo sets out to help a documentary crew as they investigate the infamous case the police bungled. In a town where everyone knows everyone – but they all have secrets – the killer is certain to be close to home…


Thank you to Avon for a free advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Opening with a bone-chilling scene that genuinely made me shudder, the atmospheric setting of When She Disappeared is brilliant. There’s nothing I love more than a small-town mystery where our main character returns to her hometown to dig up some dirt, and it certainly adds a lot of tension here.

The atmosphere reminded me of Jane Harper’s fantastic The Dry, as you get a great sense of the town and all of Margot’s old-school friends who still reside there. Although I didn’t understand why Margot seemed to be doing all of the work, I enjoyed how her interviews brought out the worst in each character, seeing their standoff receptions to Margot’s questions as their year-long secrets were finally unleashed.

Although I usually race through thrillers, I took my time with this one and I’m glad I did, as I think reading it over a week allowed me to take more of it in. The pace is quite slow so I don’t think I would have enjoyed it as much if I read it in larger sections, but I grew to really like the characters and developing relationships along the way.

While I had some idea of who to be suspicious of, there were some big surprises at the end which made it all worth the wait. I wish the ending wasn’t so ambiguous and that the documentary itself had a bigger impact, but its inclusion gave the story a unique narrative which I really liked.

As Mullin’s and Mabry’s second book, I definitely intend to revisit The Family Tree and look forward to seeing them work together again in the future.


When She Disappeared by Steph Mullin and Nicole Mabry
Release Date: 3rd March 2022
Print Length: 388 pages
Genre: Mystery Thriller
Publisher: Avon

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