The Day I Disappeared: ARC Book Review

This is a spoiler-free review.

The Day I Disappeared by Brandi Reeds

Expected publication August 25th, 2020 by Lake Union Publishing.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Three months after four-year-old Holly Gebhardt was kidnapped, she was inexplicably returned to the same park from which she’d vanished…with no memory of the ordeal. Though a local handyman was convicted, suspicion also fell on his friend—Holly’s mother, Cecily. The troubling doubts about her involvement shattered the family, forever driving a wedge between mother and daughter.

Twenty years later, another girl goes missing under eerily similar circumstances. It’s just the latest in a series of kidnappings that Detective Jason Guidry thinks Holly can help solve. Though Holly has tried to move on with her life, a young girl’s life hangs in the balance. All she has to do is try to remember…

With her memory still mostly blank, Holly is missing vital pieces of the puzzle, and she believes her mother can put them in place. In desperation and fear, Holly and her mother come together again. But in a chilling rush toward the past, Cecily still has secrets she’s yet to share with her daughter. Should she dare to breathe a word, she could lose Holly all over again.

Content Warnings: child abuse, violence, PTSD

Thank you to the publisher, Lake Union Publishing, and NetGalley for providing me an e-ARC of this book. All thoughts are my own.

“Sometimes when something feels comfortable, it’s because it’s familiar, not because it’s good for you.”

I opened this book up on a Wednesday night, and by Thursday evening I was already sitting down to my computer to write a review. I read it that quick. The Day I Disappeared is the definition of a page-turner; I found it almost impossible to put down.

This book follows Holly Gebhardt, who was abducted and later inexplicably returned after three long months, all at the young age of four years old. The book takes place 20 years after those events, as Holly tries to remember what happened to her during those life-changing months she can’t recall (a mixed result of PTSD and drug-induced inebriation during that period of time). Both her and the police have reason to believe her kidnapper is still at large, even though a man was arrested and charged with her abduction many years prior. But if her abductor is still out there, that means Holly herself is not as safe as she once thought…

Dispersed within Holly’s story are small narrations told from the perspective of her mother, Cecily, as she thinks back on her own life surrounding Holly’s abduction, both before and after she goes missing, while she remains comatose in the hospital after suffering an almost-fatal car accident cliff-side.

The plot line itself is slightly predictable, though still incredibly engaging. And even though the final reveal was not particularly surprising, it was still very satisfying. I found I couldn’t stop reading until I had figured out the truth once and for all, even if it was just to confirm my suspicions regarding the true culprit were correct.

Reeds’s writing style and pacing throughout the story kept me fully captivated until the very end. The characters were well-developed and the storyline mostly believable. Even with such dark subject matter as this, I found myself flying through this book thanks to its easy and engaging narration, and would seriously recommend it to anyone looking for a fast-paced thriller to fill their summer evenings.



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