“You talked about the disappearance of Laci Peterson, and I thought, You understand. You understand what it is to be a woman in a world that wants you to disappear,” (Brazier 1).
Sera listens to a lot of true crime podcasts, her favourite Murder, She Spoke hosted by Rachel Bard. But when Rachel stops updating her Instagram and no new episodes have been released Sera knows that something bad has happened. She travels down to Northern California and gets a job as a farmhand on Rachel’s family’s ranch, doing her own investigation on what happened to Rachel the way she was taught on Rachel’s podcast. But the ranch, overgrown with blackberries, feels hostile and Rachel’s parents odd and terrifying. The people of Happy Camp aren’t concerned with Rachel’s disappearance but Sera knows something is going on and she is determined to find out what.
I was excited for If I Disappear for so long, the premise alone sounded so unique and exciting, especially with how popular true crime podcasts are nowadays I was excited for what Brazier was going to tackle in this book. Sadly this book just didn’t do it for me and just ended up being a huge disappointment. Perhaps I should have been warned by the second person narration, which honestly worked at the beginning of the book but does get to be a bit much. That being said I do think this POV was the best way of telling the story, and knowing that Brazier is writing a TV pitch for the book I can definitely see how this POV would work as a voiceover in a show, but if this story was meant to be a TV pitch instead of a book then maybe it would have been better sticking to that.
I did like the writing though, it was easy to visualize what was happening and I found Sera to be a very interesting character. I thought her loneliness was excellently portrayed and Brazier brought up many good points about the expectations of women in relation to disappearing. I guess I just wanted more of that. By the time I finished it honestly felt like Brazier was trying to tell two different stories, both which would have been good by themselves but just didn’t mesh well together. There are a few twists and turns at the very end but they had me rolling my eyes.
If I Disappear hints at the possibility of being a book about loneliness, obsession, and commenting on societies obsession with true crime but ultimately becomes a tired trope of the mystery/thriller genres that are popular, relying on twists and revelations that just feel lazy. Maybe If I Disappear will make a better binge watch than read, but I don’t know if I’d bother with either if I had the choice.
Publication: January 26th 2021
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Pages: 304 pages (Hardcover)
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary, Mystery
My Rating: ⛤⛤.5
“Sera loves true crime podcasts. They make her feel empowered in a world where women just like her disappear daily. She’s sure they are preparing her for something. So when Rachel, her favorite podcast host, goes missing, Sera knows it’s time to act. Rachel has always taught her to trust her instincts.
Sera follows the clues hidden in the episodes to an isolated ranch outside Rachel’s small hometown to begin her search. She’s convinced her investigation will make Rachel so proud. But the more Sera digs into this unfamiliar world, the more off things start to feel. Because Rachel is not the first woman to vanish from the ranch, and she won’t be the last…
Rachel did try to warn her. ”