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The Disappearing Act
Cover of The Disappearing Act
The Disappearing Act
A Novel
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From the New York Times bestselling author of Something in the Water and Mr. Nobody comes “an unputdownable mystery about the nightmares that abound in the pursuit of Hollywood dreams”...
From the New York Times bestselling author of Something in the Water and Mr. Nobody comes “an unputdownable mystery about the nightmares that abound in the pursuit of Hollywood dreams”...
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  • From the New York Times bestselling author of Something in the Water and Mr. Nobody comes “an unputdownable mystery about the nightmares that abound in the pursuit of Hollywood dreams” (Caroline Kepnes, author of the You series).
    “Stylish, riveting, hugely atmospheric—I couldn’t put it down.”—Lucy Foley, author of The Guest List

    ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE SUMMER—Entertainment WeeklyPopSugar
    Once a year, actors from across the globe descend on the smog and sunshine of Los Angeles for pilot season. Every cable network and studio is looking to fill the rosters of their new shows, enticing a fresh batch of young hopefuls—anxious, desperate, and willing to do whatever it takes to make it. Careers will be made, dreams will be realized, stars will be born. And some will be snuffed out.
    British star Mia Eliot has landed leading roles in costume dramas in her native country, but now it’s time for Hollywood to take her to the next level. Mia flies across the Atlantic to join the horde of talent scrambling for their big breaks. She’s a fish out of water in the ruthlessly competitive arena of back-to-back auditioning. Then one day she meets Emily, another actress from out of town and a kindred spirit. Emily stands out in a conveyor-belt world of fellow auditionees. But a simple favor takes a dark twist when Emily disappears and Mia realizes she was the last person to see her. 
    All Mia has to go on is the memory of a girl she met only once . . . and the suffocating feeling that something terrible has happened. Worse still, the police don’t believe her when she claims the real Emily has gone missing. So Mia is forced to risk the role of a lifetime to try to uncover the truth about Emily, a gamble that will force her to question her own sanity.
    Actress and author Catherine Steadman has written a gripping thriller set in a world close to home that asks the question: In a city where dreams really do come true, how far would you go to make the unreal real?

Excerpts-

  • From the cover The Good with the Bad

    Friday, February 5

    Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you just can’t disappear. There’s nothing you can do to melt back into the crowd around you no matter how hard you wish you could.

    The tube carriage rattles and jolts around us as we clatter along the tracks deep beneath the streets of London. And I feel it again, the familiar tug of the stranger’s eyes on me, staring.

    I’ve been in their house. Or at least they think I have, but I don’t know them. We’re friends already, or we’re enemies, but I don’t know which. I’m part of some story they love or hate. I’m part of the story of who they are. They’ve rooted for me, cried with me, we’ve shared so much, and now I am right here in front of them. Of course they’re going to stare. I’m the unreal made real.

    On the fringes of my awareness I feel the figure finally break the connection and whisper to the person beside them. I try to focus on my novel, to let my breath deepen and the story wash over me once more.

    All those gazes, like robins alighting on me and fluttering away, wary but interested. I know people always stare at one another on the tube. But these days it’s different.

    The carriage rattles on shuddering around us.

    Since the show started airing, four weeks ago, I’m lucky to get through any journey without some kind of interaction from strangers. A shy smile. A tap on the shoulder. A selfie. A handshake. A late-­night drunken gush. Or a hastily scrawled note. And sometimes even, quite confusingly, a scowl.

    I don’t mean to sound ungrateful; I love my job. I genuinely can’t believe how lucky I am. But sometimes it feels like I’m at the wedding of a couple I don’t really know. My face aching from meeting so many well-­meaning and complicated strangers, while the whole time all I want to do is bob to the bathroom so I can get away and finally relax.

    I don’t feel threatened by attention, exactly, I know I’m safe.

    Although, of course, it’s not always safe. I learned that the hard way, a month ago, when the police showed up in my living room after countless calls and emails, finally taking notice when my agent stepped in.

    He’d been waiting outside the theater, every night. Not particularly strange or concerning. Just an ordinary man.

    I’d leave the stage door tired from work. I’d gone straight from filming on Eyre into A Doll’s House in the West End. At first he just wanted a signed program, and then a chat, and then longer chats that got harder to leave until finally he was following me to the tube station still talking. I had to start leaving with friends. I had to be chaperoned. One day he couldn’t stop crying, this stranger in his fifties. He just walked behind me and my friend, silent tears dripping down his slack face. His name was Shaun. I’d tried to sort it out with the police myself but it wasn’t until my agent received a package that they took it seriously. He was just a stalker. Not even a stalker really, just a lonely man trying to make friends. I told the police that, of course, but they insisted on following it up, issuing an official warning. I think his wife had died recently.

    They wouldn’t tell me what was in the package he sent. I jokingly asked if it was a head, and they all laughed, so I guess it can’t have been a head. I felt guilty about what happened; the friendlier I had been, the worse it had gotten and the more I strengthened his perceived connection to me. I hope...

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    April 26, 2021
    The day that London actor Mia Eliot, the narrator of this entertaining psychological thriller from Thriller Award finalist Steadman (Mr. Nobody), learns she’s on the shortlist for the prestigious BAFTA award, she also discovers her live-in actor boyfriend has accepted a role in a major film and is leaving her for his nubile young costar. Mia’s agent quickly arranges a trip for her to Los Angeles to “drum up some studio interest.” In an audition waiting room in L.A., Mia hits it off with the woman sitting next to her, Emily Bryant. When Emily asks Mia to feed her parking meter so she doesn’t miss her turn, Mia agrees. Mia returns to the room to find Emily gone. The sordid tale of murder and blackmail that follows builds to a climactic battle atop the iconic Hollywood sign. The authentic movie business details and nicely developed characters more than compensate for some confused plotting and Mia’s at times breathtakingly naive behavior. This tale of Hollywood glamour, cruelty, and myth is sure to win Steadman new fans. Agent: Camilla Bolton, Darley Anderson Literary, TV and Film Agency (U.K.).

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