#BookReview: THE DISAPPEARANCE OF STEPHANIE MAILER by Joël Dicker (Translated from the French by Howard Curtis) @QuercusBooks @maclehosepress @MillsReid11 #StephanieMailer

Publication: 4th March 2021 – MacLehose Press

A gripping new thriller with a killer twist from the author of The Truth of the Harry Quebert Affair

In the summer of 1994, the quiet seaside town of Orphea reels from the discovery of two brutal murders.

Confounding their superiors, two young police officers, Jesse Rosenberg and Derek Scott crack the case and arrest the murderer, earning themselves handsome promotions and the lasting respect of their colleagues.

But twenty years later, just as he is on the point of taking early retirement, Rosenberg is approached by Stephanie Mailer, a journalist who believes he made a mistake back in 1994 and that the real murderer is still out there, perhaps ready to strike again. Before she can give any more details however, Stephanie Mailer mysteriously disappears without trace, and Rosenberg and Scott are forced to confront the awful possibility that her suspicions might have been proved horribly true.

What happened to Stephanie Mailer?

What did she know?

And what really happened in Orphea all those years ago?




I really enjoyed The Disappearance of Stephanie Mailer. Yes, the book is more than 600 pages and the pace is at times slow, but I was completely engrossed in the story and there are twists that I didn’t see coming.

It all starts on 30th July 1994, in Orphea, a town in the Hamptons. The entire town is excited for the opening of the first Theater Festival, but things take a dark turn when four people are murdered right before the beginning of the festival. The killer was caught and one of the detectives who solved the case is now a captain. However, twenty years earlier, that same detective, Jesse Rosenberg, is approached by Stephanie Mailer, a journalist, at his retirement party. Stephanie is convinced that the police accused the wrong man, but she disappears that same night. Since it seems that somebody wants to make sure that they never find out what Stephanie knew, Jesse starts to wonder whether they made a mistake twenty years ago and together with his then partner, Derek Scott, and newly-arrived detective Betsy Kanner, they investigate both Stephanie’s disappearance and the twenty-year-old murders.

The characters are flawed and well-developed and I especially liked how well Jesse, Derek, and Betsy work together as a team. The mystery is really intriguing and difficult to solve. I didn’t figure out the truth until it was revealed. The disappearance of Stephanie and the murders are obviously linked and the list of suspects keeps growing and, as the twentieth anniversary of the murders and the Theatre Festival approach, all the suspects seem to converge to Ophelia. There is a mysterious play that will reveal the truth about the murders, there are secrets, corruption, family drama, and personal tragedy to keep you engrossed in the story.

The Disappearance of Stephanie Mailer is a character-driven, thrilling, and suspenseful novel and it’s out today!

A huge thank you to Milly and MacLehose Press for providing me with a proof of the novel.


JOËL DICKER was born in Geneva in 1985, where he studied Law. The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair was nominated for the Prix Goncourt and won the Grand Prix du Roman de l’Académie Française and the Prix Goncourt des Lycéens. It has sold more than 3.6 million copies in 42 countries.

HOWARD CURTIS is an award-winning translator of Italian and French, including books by Fabio Geda, Gianrico Carofiglio, Jean-Claude Izzo and Giorgio Scerbanenco.

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