Review: Efrem Sigel's suspense novel The Disappearance is more than a mystery; it's a powerful study of interpersonal relationships, what keeps them together and what tears them apart.
Nathalie and Joshua Sandler's son, their only child, 14-year-old Daniel was absent from their home when they returned from running an errand that lasted just two hours. It was a beautiful August morning in The Hollow, a small village in the town of Smithfield, Massachusetts where the Sandler's had their summer home. Dan's bike was in the garage. Nothing about the house or Dan's room was disturbed. Maybe he had met his friends to take a swim in the river. Maybe they went for a hike. Maybe. Maybe. As the hours passed Nathalie and Joshua spoke with Dan's friends. Nathalie called the parents of the friends they could not find. Nobody in this town of about sixty people had seen or been in contact with Daniel. Joshua, along with the small town police force, questioned adults and children. Had anyone seen somebody or anything out of the ordinary on that morning between 10 AM and noon? No one had. Joshua endlessly continued his search for almost a year to find his son. Nathalie, a cellist with the New York Philharmonic, put her cello down, and took a leave of absence from the orchestra and retreated into herself. It is with heartache that Nathalie and Joshua resolve they must continue their lives.
The Disappearance is a story of love, heartbreak, and tragedy. But it also am absorbing character study. Nathalie and Joshua are outsiders in Smithfield, rich people from the city. Some members of the town board aren't totally sympathetic to their loss, believing that change (in the form of summer folk) isn't good for the community. The compassionate police chief, however, a parent like many others in the town, does everything in his power to help in the search. But the focus here is on Nathalie and Joshua. Nathalie refuses to believe Daniel may be gone, but rather than continue to hope, gives up in despair. Joshua eventually accepts the reality of their son's disappearance, but never gives up his pursuit in finding him. He understands they must try to rebuild their lives together or lead them separately and apart. The mystery of Daniel is eventually resolved, but the story here, and the reason to read the book, centers around the consequences of a child's disappearance, not the act itself.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of The Disappearance.
Acknowledgment: Author Marketing Experts provided a copy of The Disappearance for this review.
Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in The Disappearance: Massachusetts
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The Disappearance by Efrem Sigel
Publisher: The Permanent Press
Publication Date: February 2009
List Price: $28.00