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How Quickly She Disappears

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The Dry meets Silence of the Lambs in this intoxicating tale of literary suspense set in the relentless Alaskan landscape about madness and obsession, loneliness and grief, and the ferocious bonds of family …

It’s 1941 in small-town Alaska and Elisabeth Pfautz is alone. She’s living far from home, struggling through an unhappy marriage, and she spends her days tutoring her precocious young daughter. Elisabeth’s twin sister disappeared without a trace twenty years earlier, and Elisabeth’s life has never recovered. Cryptic visions of her sister haunt her dreams, and Elisabeth’s crushing loneliness grows more intense by the day. But through it all, she clings to one belief: That her sister is still alive, and that they’ll be reunited one day.

And that day may be coming soon. Elisabeth’s world is upended when Alfred Seidel — an enigmatic German bush pilot — arrives in town and murders a local man in cold blood. Sitting in his cell in the wake of his crime, Alfred refuses to speak to anyone except for Elisabeth. He has something to tell her: He knows exactly what happened to her long-missing sister, but he’ll reveal this truth only if Elisabeth fulfills three requests.

Increasingly isolated from her neighbors and imprisoned by the bitter cold and her own obsession, Elisabeth lets herself slip deeper into Alfred’s web. A tenuous friendship forms between them, even as Elisabeth struggles to understand Alfred’s game and what he’s after.

But if it means she’ll get answers, she’s willing to play by his rules. She’s ready to sacrifice whatever it takes to be reunited with her sister, even if it means putting herself — and her family — in mortal danger.

320 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2020

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About the author

Raymond Fleischmann

1 book160 followers
Raymond Fleischmann’s debut novel, How Quickly She Disappears, is available now from Penguin Random House (Berkley Books). Fleischmann has published short fiction in The Iowa Review, Cimarron Review, The Pinch, and Los Angeles Review, among many others. He earned his MFA from Ohio State University and has received fellowships and scholarships from Richard Hugo House, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and others.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 464 reviews
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews155k followers
April 30, 2021
description To the month, twenty years had passed since her sister disappeared. Twenty years a missing child. A stolen child.
It's 1941 and Elisabeth Pfautz and her daughter, Margaret, are alone in their house, surrounded by the Alaskan wilds when a stranger comes a-calling.

Technically, since their house is connected to the school (and their town has no inn), the Pfautz family is expected to house those who need shelter...only with Elisabeth's husband away from town, she finds herself rather hesitant.
Not the least bit rude, no. But he was peculiar.
There's just something about that odd man that has her wondering.

But those thoughts quickly turn aside when a man shows up dead and all fingers point to the stranger...and yet, the stranger has a story of his own.

One that will cut Elisabeth to her very core.
"I know that she's alive."
He took a breath. A single breath. "Because I was involved in her disappearance."
And so begins the dance - between a murderer and a desperate soul.
....she couldn't help but feel like she was signing some contract with the devil himself.



This book had me hooked.

I loved the premise - remote Alaskan town, murder and girl who's been missing for two decades...but as much as I loved the idea of the book, I found myself disliking the actual book.

The characters just didn't feel consistent.

Elisabeth was well-rounded, and the strange man was as well...but the rest? I just couldn't get into them.

Her daughter - Margaret - flip-flopped in personalityso much that she felt like a different person by the end of the book...but that's nothing compared to Elisabeth's husband.
"Just drop it," John said, speaking slowly and tightly, three separate sentences crammed into one. Just. Drop. It.
I honestly didn't even realize that he was supposed to be a "bad guy" (or at least a bad husband) until 60-80 pages in...

It was so jarring that I reread parts of the book to see if I missed clues to his personality, but I couldn't find anything.

He's a pretty decent, if a bit neglectful guy until he turns on a dime and becomes horrible to her. It just felt so sudden that it really threw me out of the book.

The plot itself wasn't horrible, but it just didn't feel like it was going anywhere.

It felt like we were building, building. building...building........building.....(you get the point) but as for actual sustenance, there wasn't much there.

Also, there were a lot (and I mean a LOT) of decisions that really had me questioning Elisabeth's thought process.

There'd be option A, option B, and waaaay off in the basement dungeon, option C. Guess which one Elisabeth went for every time.

Anyway, I'm just kinda left scratching my head. It started so well too, a solid 4 stars and just kinda flopped....I honestly haven't been this annoyed at an ending in a long time.

with thanks to Berkley Publishing and the author for a free ARC in exchange for an honest review

All quotes come from an uncorrected proof and are subject to change upon publication

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Profile Image for MarilynW.
1,108 reviews2,792 followers
September 6, 2020
How Quickly She Disappears grabbed me at first. I felt the remote, lonely, mosquito infested, muddiness of the tiny Alaskan town during WWII.  Elisabeth, her husband, and her just turning twelve year old daughter are there because her husband's job is teaching the Indian children. Else homeschools their precocious daughter and feels a part of the tiny town even though she and her family are the only white people living there. Twenty years earlier, Else's twin sister disappeared when they were eleven years old and when Alfred, a temporary pilot delivering mail, lets Else know he can help her find her missing sister, Else becomes obsessed with doing whatever Alfred wants her to do. Else's behavior from here on out estranges her from the townsfolk and rips open her already bad marriage. 

Else has so much guilt about her missing sister because she feels that she pushed her sister into whatever actions caused her to go missing. We see flashbacks of Else's time with her sister, before she disappeared and neither child seemed likeable to me. As an adult, Else is even more unlikeable, unrelatable, and irrational than she was as a child. Now Alfred has arrived and Else is willing to let Alfred manipulate her in unconscionable ways. Alfred is obviously a disturbed man and even if he might know the location of Else's sister, the lengths she goes to bend to his will, to allow him access to herself and her daughter, led me to not care one iota about what happened to Else or her sister.

The atmosphere of Alaska makes this book and puts in place an eerie, repressive feeling. If only the characters could have been stronger in their evilness and manipulations (Alfred) and more sane and rational (Else), this book could have gone somewhere for me. Instead I just had to watch trainwreck Else ruin her present and future for a past that can't be changed and for a sister that is most likely dead. Else is willing to throw her daughter on the fires of her obsession and despite how much I disliked Else's husband, he often had a point when he was berating her for her failings.

I read this book with the Traveling Sisters and enjoyed our discussions about it. Thank you to Berkley/Penguin Publishing Group and Edelweiss for this ARC.

Published January 14th 2020
Profile Image for Debra .
2,279 reviews35k followers
December 17, 2019
2.5 stars

The synopsis of this book sounded so promising as did the title. I was intrigued just by the title alone. Reading the book blurb, I was convinced this was the book for me. Unfortunately, it did not live up to my expectations.

In 1941 Alaska, Elizabeth is living in an unhappy marriage and is homeschooling her daughter even though her husband is a teacher at the local school. Elizabeth lost her twin sister twenty years ago and she has never recovered. When a mysterious man, Alfred Seidel, arrives in town, he murders a local man and has one request, that Elizabeth visit him in jail. He has something to tell her and only her - he knows what happened to her sister.

Will she fall for his demands for a visit? Is she willing to go against the wishes of her family? How far is she willing to go to learn the truth? Is this man telling the truth or is he stringing her alone as the local sheriff believes?

This one just didn't work for me. I found it to be slow going in the beginning, I found myself enjoying it around the fifty percent mark and then toward the end, I finished the book feeling unimpressed. I am not a big fan of when books are compared to other books. I also struggled because I didn't find anyone in this book to be likable and it made it hard to care about what happened to their characters. The only thing likable in this book was the Alaskan landscape which kept true to itself being cold and providing some much-needed atmosphere. It was the only "character" in the book which did not change drastically.

Some are really enjoying this book, so I encourage readers to read all the reviews and decide for yourself. This one just wasn't my cup of tea.

**This was a Traveling Sisters Group read.

Thank you to the Publisher and Edelweiss who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,438 reviews78k followers
October 16, 2019
I'm struggling to put in words my thoughts of How Quickly She Disappears. On the one hand, it is original and atmospheric in a way that most authors can only dream of achieving, and while I feel neutral regarding the pacing of the novel, I did wrestle with the ending. It's really difficult going into a book, thinking it's a stand alone novel, and upon conclusion finding that there will most likely be a sequel or series of some sort. Comparing any story to the likes of The Silence of the Lambs and The Dry is setting up large, almost unfair expectations upon the author, but I also see why those comparisons were drawn. If you enjoy atmospheric mysteries, you should definitely give this one a try.

*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy.
Profile Image for Dorie  - Cats&Books :).
991 reviews2,759 followers
January 16, 2020

I really don’t like when a novel is compared to another. The comparison to “The Dry” which I really enjoyed is puzzling to me, I don’t see the comparison. This was a 2 and ½ which I'm rounding down to a 2. The two are for the Alaskan atmosphere and what originally sounded like a good premise.

This novel was one of those books that you end up asking yourself “what exactly was the plot of this novel? I would say it was the disappearance of Elizabeth’s sister, but then the entire story about Albert Seidel and his relationship with Elizabeth is a strong part of the plot.

The characters weren’t very well described or perhaps it was that their personalities changed so often it was hard to describe them. I truly didn’t care about any of them with the exception of Mack who I felt I could like, he was the one truly good friend and neighbor to Elizabeth. I think he was a kind soul who wanted to protect Elizabeth and her daughter, unfortunately Elizabeth never listened to his advice. He is definitely my favorite character.

“ Elisabeth’s twin sister disappeared without a trace twenty years earlier, and Elisabeth’s life has never recovered. Cryptic visions of her sister haunt her dreams, and Elisabeth’s crushing loneliness grows more intense by the day. But through it all, she clings to one belief: That her sister is still alive, and that they’ll be reunited one day”. She is already sounding mentally unsound if she is dwelling on the disappearance daily and dreaming about her nightly.

Early in the book Elizabeth is portrayed as a wonderful mother and teacher and we see how much time and thought she puts into her daughters lessons. She seems to be very close to her daughter but then later in the novel she is an entirely different person, with no morals, no care for the well being of her own daughter or her husband. Her daughter also morphs quite quickly from a fun loving, excellent and happy student to a “screaming brat” who hates everything, including her mother. She wants to get out of Alaska and makes an attempt at running away, but again this seems to come out of nowhere.

I enjoyed the descriptions of the local landscapes and how it felt to live there. The winter season is the most difficult for most of the people as they feel even more isolated and the weather can be brutal. The part of the plot that takes place in a blizzard were really the only tense parts of the story for me.

Albert Seidel appears in Elizabeth’s life when their usual pilot is out for the week. He is a bush pilot delivering the mail but is stranded because he tells everyone that there is something wrong with the plane and it will take a few days to get it fixed. Elizabeth feels obligated to offer her extra room because their house is the largest in town and they have hosted others.

Albert is a sociopath and it would tell too much of the plot to get into this character. We do find out that he has been searching for Elizabeth because he has a "secret" to tell her.

There were some things that I liked, I thought the story flowed pretty well from past to present regarding her relationship and life with her twin sister. That relationship was not a healthy one, she was clearly obsessed with Jacqueline. She thought she was the “fun” sister even though many people said she was the “bad” sister and Elizabeth the “good” sister. At only eleven years old Jacqueline was into some really unhealthy relationships and shared everything with Elizabeth who knew it was wrong but still didn’t tell her parents about what was going on.

There are many higher star reviews out there so read a variety and see what you think, or just go in blind, sometimes that’s best!

I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through Edelweiss. This novel is set to publish on January 14, 2020

This was a Traveling Sister read.
Profile Image for Kaceey.
1,065 reviews3,607 followers
February 23, 2020
Elisabeth is living in a small Alaskan town with her husband and daughter. She carries with her the burden of not knowing what happened to her twin sister who mysteriously vanished some twenty years earlier.

A stranger suddenly appears in town only to find himself behind bars for murder. While in custody he reveals the claim of knowing what happened to Elisabeth’s sister. And the only person he will share that information with is Elisabeth herself! Of course, it will come with a price!

I’ve read several books recently that take place in Alaska, all having a very similar atmospheric feel to them. This was no different. While the scenic setting was beautiful the story-line itself fell short, lacking depth I suppose. I really wanted to feel something for Elisabeth but just found her an unlikable character that I could not connect to.

Fans of slow burn mysteries will really enjoy this debut.

A buddy read with Susanne

Thank you to Elisha at Berkley Publishing.
Profile Image for Jeffrey Keeten.
Author 3 books248k followers
January 29, 2020
”It was. How she felt about her sister was very different from how she felt about her mother or her father or, for that matter, how she felt about Mack. These people were gone, utterly wiped off the face of the earth, but her sister--her sister stared back at her every time she looked into the mirror. It wasn’t just that she believed Jacqueline was still alive. And it wasn’t just that she believed they would one day be together again. It was something deeper. It was because they were sisters, and because they were twins. They were split from the same substance. They were themselves, and they would be forever.”

Elisabeth Pfautz is living in a small, remote village in the Alaskan wilderness. It is 1941, and even though a war has been raging for several years in Europe, the impetus for American involvement, the day that will live in infamy, is still months away. Her relationship with her husband has become as frigid and aloof as the landscape that surrounds them. He teaches at the public school, and she teaches their daughter Margaret at home. Elisabeth is lonely, way more lonely than she even realizes, but then if truth be known, she has been alone since 1921 when her twin sister Jacqueline disappeared.

She may have locked up all that pain and despair that such a loss inspires, but that torment is like a leaking balloon that never completely runs out of air. It seeps into her life at unexpected moments. She can try and ignore the face in the mirror, but she can’t ignore her daughter, who reminds her of her sister more and more each day.

A man comes to town, a German, who knows things he shouldn’t know. He knows things about Jacqueline. He is a violent man, unreliable, manipulative, and yet he dangles information like an irresistible lure. His letters to her are odd. ”I cannot reveal everything I know about your sister in a single sitting or conversation or letter. Why not? It’s very simple: I am desperately alone, and in my own selfish way I want to ensure our correspondence for as long as possible. We have to cooperate, Elisabeth. All I want is to talk to you, I want to see your writing, to read your words, to feel your presence. Selfish, yes, but is that really so awful?”

Elisabeth knows she is being manipulated, but she also knows that he wants something that he is afraid to ask for. She cannot leave this be. The possibility of finding out the truth about her sister is worth any risk. Can she manipulate the manipulator?

Meanwhile, her daughter is changing very quickly, as girls tend to do during those critical pre-teen years as they struggle between childhood and fast approaching adulthood. Elisabeth’s preoccupation with the decades old mystery has exasperated their relationship. ”Flagging attention. Flagging support. Flagging love. That was what had done it. That, and Margaret getting older. Each year of raising her had been more difficult than the last, and this year wasn’t shaping up to be any exception. Raising children was strange like that: One year, you felt stretched to your limit, but a year after you felt stretched even more, realizing only then what an easy life your past self had owned.”

Desperation is changing Elisabeth as well. I can only imagine what it would be like to feel so close to lifting a weight that has rested on the mind for so long. Whether Jacqueline is alive or dead, the need to know is very much alive.

I think that comparing this book to The Dry and to The Silence of the Lambs might be misplacing readers’ expectations. This book in many ways is much more interesting than either of those two books. Raymond Fleischmann does a better job of exploring the psychological nature of his characters. The plot of this book has a better twist than either of those other books. There is a wonderful building of suspense about the true motivations of this man who seems to have all the puzzle pieces but refuses to give Elisabeth the flesh colored pieces that reveal the faces. I was speculating endlessly about the WHY, which led me to the HOW, which led me back to WHY. When I did finally discover the truth, I felt this sense of relief wash over me that revealed how much tension I had been feeling from being at the edge of a precipice, waiting for the fog to clear so I could see the bottom of the stone strewn canyon below.

The descriptions of the Alaskan wilderness are excellent. The glimpses we get into the customs of the Athabaskan tribe certainly add spice to an already evocative landscape. The darkness of obsession is exquisitely allowed to creep up on us until her obsession and his obsession become our obsession. What would we do to find out the truth? What would we do to keep someone trapped in our web?

I want to thank Berkley and Penguin Random House for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.com
I also have a Facebook blogger page at:https://www.facebook.com/JeffreyKeeten
December 2, 2021
2.5 stars.

A wintery atmospheric read perfect for this time of year!

This novel revolves around a mother who is struggling to hold on to her marriage while haunted by her twin sisters’ childhood disappearance.

This started off a lot stronger than it ended. I felt an immediate connection to the characters and the remote Alaskan setting. It was a unique storyline that interested me for the first half but slowly lost its intrigue as the second half became too unlikely to accept. The mystery was entertaining, but nothing about this book was stand out. I wasn’t consumed by the characters or mystery. The characters and their relationships failed to truly draw me in and didn’t feel genuine. The storyline became mundane and repetitive at times.

There were some heavy topics involved — child abduction, racism, highly unstable relationships. I thought the author did a good job exploring these aspects and provided some thought-provoking scenarios.

Overall, I enjoyed this for being an atmospheric, easy listening mystery but it failed to keep my attention as the implausible elements became too much for me to accept.

Audio rating: 4 stars! The narrator did a good job with the pace and character voice changes.

Thank you to the publisher for my review copy! Thank you to my lovely local library for the audio loan!
Profile Image for Susanne.
1,159 reviews36.8k followers
February 25, 2020
3 Stars

Chilling and Ominous!

Unhappily married, living in Alaska, Elisabeth feels more isolated than she could ever imagine. Having lost her twin sister Jacqueline in the 1920’s, she struggles with feelings she can’t begin to describe. In truth, Jacqueline’s disappearance is something Elisabeth has never gotten over.

Enter Alfred Seidel. A substitute pilot, weary from his deliveries, is in need of a refuge for the night, which Elisabeth willingly provides. She is immediately taken with him and then Alfred divulges the reason for his visit: It’s about Jacqueline. He knows what happened to her. As it turns out, however, Alfred doesn’t just want to talk about Jacqueline. He wants to know everything about Elisabeth. He wants to talk to her, correspond with her, and feel her presence.

Are you feeling as creeped out as I am? Would you let this man into your house? I think not. And yet Elisabeth did.

A slow burning, chilling, scary mystery / thriller that truly had me utterly freaked out.
That aside, I loved the descriptions of the territory, landscape and Alaskan Wilderness. It sounds like a beautiful backdrop for a story, though having read a few novels that take place there it also sounds quite dangerous!

This was another buddy read with Kaceey!

Thank you to Berkley Publishing Group for the arc.

Published on Goodreads on 2.23.20.
January 11, 2020
Oh my my!!! I thought this one had a great premise to it and it started off intriguing for me. I was liking the harrowing and haunting feel to the story and Alfred was a creepy character, However, things started to go sideways for me after the halfway mark and things started to go more to the creepy bad than creepy good. I didn't find Alfred's mind games here all that interesting or tense.

The biggest thing this story has going for it is the atmospheric feel to it here with the setting however it misses the mark with the sense of time. It just didn't work for me

This was a Traveling Sister Read

I received a copy from the publisher
Profile Image for Katie B.
1,291 reviews2,962 followers
July 1, 2019
Impressive debut novel by the author. While I certainly was interested in the mystery of the young girl's disappearance I was equally invested in her sister and her quest to find answers. It was a haunting and chilling story and the Alaskan setting was a perfect backdrop.

Back in the 1920s, Elisabeth's twin sister, Jacqueline, disappeared without a trace. Fast forward twenty years later, and Elisabeth is living in Alaska with her husband and young daughter, Margaret. They live in a such a sparsely populated area, that the plane delivering mail and other essential items only comes around once a week. Alfred Seidel has been sent as a substitute for the usual pilot and he is so exhausted from his deliveries, he ask Elisabeth if she can put him up at her house for one night so he can rest. He eventually lets Elisabeth in on his secret, he knows what happened to her sister Jacqueline. He's willing to give Elisabeth the answers she has sought for so long but first she must give in to his demands.

It is not unusual for me to be creeped out when reading a mystery or thriller but this is the first time I can think of when I had that feeling when reading a book that took place in time period from so long ago. The combination of the desolate Alaskan setting, the uneasiness of not knowing what Alfred was up to, and feeling like you were experiencing poor Elizabeth's anguish right there with her just really gave me chills.

I did think the character of Margaret need to be more fully developed. It's obvious there were some big changes in her life that would explain some of her behavior but I still wish the author would have explored that a bit more.

Overall a good atmospheric read. The mystery in the end might not be the most satisfying but it's worth reading just to see the lengths a person would go to in order to get answers to something that has haunted them for years.

Thank you to First to Read for the free advance digital copy! I was under no obligation to post a review and all views expressed are my honest opinion.
Profile Image for Fran.
639 reviews583 followers
June 10, 2019
Sometimes Elizabeth felt "...completely alone, the last person on a desolate earth." Even after twenty years, Elizabeth aka Else still "felt in her bones" that her identical twin sister Jacqueline was alive. Jacqueline had disappeared from their hometown of Lititz, Pennsylvania in 1921. Else constantly dreamed of Jacqueline. "Come and get me, her sister seemed to say. Just keep running."

In 1941, Elizabeth and John Pfautz lived in Tanacross, Alaska with young daughter, Margaret. Tanacross, population 85, was approximately 200 miles from Fairbanks, Alaska. John worked for the Office of Indian Affairs and the Pfautz family lived in a government owned house without running water or plumbing. Half of the house boasted a school, half was dedicated to living space and included a guest room for use by visiting government employees. With no paved roads, mail, groceries, medical supplies and books were delivered weekly by Walter Glaser, bush plane pilot.

Substituting for Walter, or so he said, Alfred Seidel explained that he was exhausted from flying both his delivery route as well as Walters. Would he be able to spend the night in the guest room? John was away on a business trip. Else and Margaret were home alone. Despite her discomfort, Else agreed. Alfred told Else that they were countrymen. He felt they were allies because he was from Munich and Else's parents were German-Americans. War seemed on the horizon.

While being questioned by the police for a violent act, Alfred additionally implicated himself in the 1921 disappearance of Jacqueline Metzger. Alfred claimed, "...I was involved in her disappearance...I know things about Jacqueline." Did Alfred know who took her or did he kidnap her himself? If Else agreed to fulfill three requests, he would give her three gifts he claimed would help her find her twin sister. The cat and mouse game was dangerous. How far was Else willing to leap to find a connection to Jacqueline? How could she trust this disturbing individual?

"How Quickly She Disappears" by Raymond Fleischmann is a taut, suspenseful debut novel. The tension builds to a surprising conclusion. This reader was satisfied, others might feel it begs for a sequel. Judge for yourself! A totally engrossing read!

Thank you First to Read Program and Penguin-Random House for the opportunity to read and review "How Quickly She Disappears".
Profile Image for Diana • Book of Secrets.
780 reviews567 followers
July 14, 2019
4.5 Stars → This was my final selection from Penguin's First to Read program. Unfortunately it is shutting down this month! I've greatly enjoyed being a part of the program for the past few years. I've found many favorites through them, including this book, HOW QUICKLY SHE DISAPPEARS.

A historical suspense novel set in Alaska in the 1940s was too tempting to pass up, and I got pulled into the story right away. A tiny, isolated town in the Alaskan Interior was the perfect setting for this eerie story. I was very intrigued by Elisabeth's quest to find her missing sister, gone for 20 years, and the lengths she'd go to get answers. Alfred was a truly creepy character, and I was flipping the pages to find out what he knew! The author did a great job building up tension, and I was pleased with the conclusion. Haunting, riveting, and enjoyable!

Disclosure: A free copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader.
2,121 reviews30.2k followers
January 15, 2020
3.5 stars!

Another thriller set in Alaska?I am alllll in! Add in that it’s historical, and I’m over-the-moon!

In 1941, Elisabeth is in an unhappy marriage, and she’s living an isolated existence. Her days are spent tutoring her daughter. Elisabeth is haunted by her sister’s disappearance twenty years ago. She is lonely, and she yearns to be reunited with her lost sister.

When a bush pilot, Alfred, arrives in town and almost immediately murders a resident, he refuses to speak to anyone except Elisabeth. He knows the truth about what happened to her sister, but to find out, she has to do three things for him.

A bond between Elisabeth and Alfred grows, one that is hard to understand. She falls in headlong because all she wants to know is where her sister is.

How Quickly She Disappears is a slow burning mystery, especially in the beginning. The Alaskan setting is just as dark, isolating, and foreboding in winter as one would imagine.

Overall, I enjoyed this atmospheric mystery and look forward to more books by this talented author!

I received a complimentary copy.

Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: https://jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader
Profile Image for Berit Talks Books.
2,019 reviews15.7k followers
January 25, 2020
This book in emojis. ❄️ 👨‍👩‍👧 🌨 🧤 👗 🧣 🕯 🧭
Profile Image for Toni.
515 reviews
January 8, 2020
Let me start by saying that I absolutely adored the Alaskan setting of this debut thriller from Raymond Fleischmann. A small isolated town in the midst of wild and harsh nature... Couldn't find a better place for Elizabeth Pfautz lost her twin sister Jacqueline twenty years ago, but time hasn't healed the wound. Elizabeth's predominant feeling is desperate loneliness, despite being married to a local teacher and having a smart daughter who Elizabeth homeschools. A mysterious stranger appears in the town and revives Elizabeth's hopes that her sister may be alive after all this time.
Gradually, through the use of flashbacks we discover Elizabeth's relationship with her sister and the guilt that is consuming Elizabeth over the events. How far will she go to fulfill Alfred Seidel's requests in order to get clues that will allow her to solve the mystery?
There is a lot of suspense and building of tension. No character is particularly likeable, but Raymond Fleischmann manages to let the reader glimpse the dark side of their personality and how it grows under the pressure of isolation and obsession.
Eery, dark, full of mind games, How Quickly She Disappears is an atmospheric thriller that is going to be liked by readers who like to explore the nature of guilt, obsession and manipulation and enjoy complex, flawed characters.
Thank you to Edelweiss and Berkley for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.

Profile Image for Juli.
1,879 reviews474 followers
January 2, 2020
Living in rural Alaska, Elisabeth is lonely. Soul crushing lonely. A plane comes once a week to deliver supplies and mail,but other than that human contact outside her family is infrequent. Then a stranger arrives....he's a substitute pilot for the supply plane. Alfred Seidel says he has a secret....but he will only tell her if she agrees to three demands. The secret? He knows about the disappearance of Elisabeth's twin sister 20 years before. Elisabeth has been haunted by thoughts of her sister since she vanished....and the obsession Seidel creates will lead to murder and an unraveling of Elisabeth's life and relationships.

I think I liked the setting and the emotional vibe of this book better than I liked the mystery portion of the plot. I can't imagine the mental stress of living isolated in the middle of nowhere....then add in a creepy guy with a very very dark secret. Yikes. Double yikes, in fact. I feel like this book was more about Elisabeth sliding into obsession and a very dark place, rather than about the mystery of her sister's disappearance. Elisabeth changes from a woman dedicated to her child who is trying to make a difficult marriage work into a changed person....pretty much a hot mess....by the end of things. A stranger and his strange secrets and actions upend her life. The vibe and emotion was heavy and dark, and I ended up really not liking Elisabeth or any of the characters.

I've been mulling over this book for more than a week as I tried to decide how I feel about it. The story is good....but, for me, the emotion/darkness of it was difficult to read. Heavy stuff. But in my opinion, a book that leaves me thinking heavy thoughts for several days because I'm having to come to terms with events, character's actions, and the ending.....deserves at least four stars from me. This book left me thinking about how fragile people can be, and how I might react in the same circumstances.

A bit distressing for me....but, all in all, a good story. Excellent debut novel! I will be reading more by this author!

**I voluntarily read a review copy of this book from Berkley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**
Profile Image for Tucker  (TuckerTheReader).
908 reviews1,596 followers
May 24, 2020

Many thanks to Berkley for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review

Not-quite-DNF at 100%?

Let me explain because you're probably thinking How can you DNF a book at 100%
To which I would guiltily respond, I skimmed...
Yes, dear reader, I skimmed.

How Quickly She Disappears is an unsettling an atmospheric thriller that, in spite of its creativity, struggled to hold my attention. It's partly the fact that this is more of a slow burn thriller but it's mostly just the fact that I am currently in a reading mood where I need fast paced and flashy books.

So, really, this a classic bookish case of "It's not you, it's me." because there were so many good aspects of this book. It was chillingly unsettling. It was creative and well written. I think my favorite part was the fact that there was a POV told in 2nd person! I loved that!

TL;DR - Good book, bad reader. Give this one a chance.


I'm on a roll with thrillers lately so I'm sure I will enjoy this!

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Profile Image for Amy Imogene Reads.
926 reviews793 followers
January 20, 2020

Gorgeous writing, extremely suspenseful. The Alaskan wilderness and one woman's drive to find answers gives this narrative its propulsive drive.

Concept: ★★★
Writing: ★★★★★
Pacing: ★★★★
Villain(s)/Reveal(s): ★★★ 1/2

It's 1941. Elisabeth Pfautz is living at home in Tanacross, a barely-there outpost of rural Alaska with her husband, John, and their young daughter, Margaret. They've been in Alaska for a while now, following John's teaching posts wherever they lead, and Elisabeth is just along for the ride with an unhappy marriage, a gloomy home life, and the ghosts of the unsolved secrets of her past.

Elisabeth's twin sister, Jacqueline, disappeared when she was a child.

I'll be right back, don't worry.

Jacqueline never came back, and after decades of searches in the Pennsylvania town where it happened, the case has gone cold.

In Tanacross, Elisabeth meets a stranger and he needs a place to stay for the night. She offers him their spare room despite her reservations, as her home is the unofficial B&B when Tanacross gets white guests.

The stranger, Alfred, is odd. He's a German during a time when to be German is to be the enemy, and frankly, he's creepy. By the next morning, Alfred's murdered Elisabeth's neighbor in an act of (seemingly) cold blood. He's immediately whisked to Fairbanks and interred in the prison.

But Elisabeth begins to receive letters from the murderer in jail. Alfred claims to know what happened to Jacqueline, and he can prove it. To Elisabeth, this permanent hole in her life sucks her into Alfred's narrative, and Elisabeth finds herself responding to his letters and following his bread crumb trail.

What happened to Jacqueline?

First off, let me say that this is some of the most gorgeous and suspenseful writing that I have read in a literary suspense novel in quite some time. For the writing quality alone, this novel is worth the read. Fleischmann can weave his words together with a flourish.

In fact, at times I forgot that I was reading a mystery/thriller, and completely engrossed myself in the literary suspense. This is less a "whodunit" and more of a character study of Elisabeth and Alfred, complete with beautiful described scenes and flashbacks.

However, I will say that I found the ending to be not quite...what I expected. Considering the near-flawless writing and the fantastic characterization of Elisabeth, I was a bit surprised by the direction taken at the end. Again, the "whodunit" was not the driving force for my reading experience, but I still found the reveal(s) to be a weaker ending. Why did we make that final choice?

Overall—what a read. I hope others enjoy this interesting tale set in one of America's most memorable landscapes, as it is such an impressive debut. I'm incredibly interested to see what Fleischmann writes next.

Thank you to Berkley Publishing Group for an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review.

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Profile Image for Linda.
1,226 reviews1,273 followers
February 10, 2020
"We come here because we feel alone, and in our weakness we want to surrender ourselves to that loneliness. We want to be lost, and what easier place to be lost than Alaska?"

I didn't have to go to Alaska to be lost. I was lost within the pages of this book. And not in a good way.

Let me explain. I love all things Alaska. I lived in Palmer for a short period. So whenever I hear that the setting is in Alaska.....well, I'm in. Until I'm not.

How Quickly She Disappears starts off with quite the intriguing footprint in the snow. It's 1941 in a small Alaskan town. Elizabeth, John, and their young daughter, Margaret, have left Pennsylvania for John's teaching position in Tanacross. They are adjusting to life where there's 24 hours of daylight in July. Tricky business, but an adventure none the less.

Elizabeth and Margaret are on their own for a few days while John is traveling. The usual air mail plane lands, but in the cockpit is not the usual air mail pilot. He's a tall man with a touch of an accent who says that he's been having mechanical problems with the plane. He needs a place to stay. Elizabeth feels obligated as the school building is the main building with a guest room. And now we lock eyes with Alfred.

Said Alfred confides to Elizabeth that he knows something about her missing twin sister, Jacqueline, who was abducted twenty years ago. Elizabeth is obsessed with finding her missing twin and still believes that she is alive even after all these years. She looks to Alfred for answers even under the weight of a shocking murder in Tanacross and the breakdown of her marriage. Here's where the icestorm of a plot settles everything into inertia.

Raymond Fleischmann shows promise as a writer. But this 1941 novel was filled with quirky dialogue from 2020. The character of Elizabeth reminded me of the TV commercial where the people make the colossal decision of going into the shed with all the power saws to get away from the serial killer. Empty heads do not prevail.

Perhaps I viewed this one with a frozen eye. As I always say, take it out for a spin and see what you think. Others have enjoyed it. But mind those patches of ice on the road.
January 3, 2020
Cunningly manipulative!

This novel had an eery undertone once it took off. Firstly, it takes place in a tiny remote Alaskan village that relies on plane deliveries for precious supplies not readily available. Secondly, this happens during the time in 1941, before the US military had any presence in the area and most of the inhabitants there were descendants of early tribes, speaking the native tongue. For any family to move there to integrate and teach at the schoolhouse would be a challenging endeavor.

Elisabeth, her husband, and their daughter moved into this area for a teaching position. Elisabeth, a well-accomplished woman herself, home educates their gifted daughter while her husband teaches at the local school. Marriage life is rocky and tested at times by their current situation.

One day, an expected delivery takes Elisabeth to the airfield where she does not find the usual pilot on the route, but a different man, Alfred. He is having issues with his plane and asks Elisabeth if he could spend the night and work on it the next day. Since her house is the largest in town with an open 'guest room', she lets him crash the night despite her husband being out of town for work. This Alfred is a peculiar man of German descent and likes to think he shares much in common with Elisabeth's family having a German last name as well.

After Alfred stayed another night, he had outrun his welcome in Elisabeth's home, as she was increasingly becoming uncomfortable with it, and that not without reason! A neighbor friend has been found dead, killed by Alfred and he only wants to talk to Elisabeth. He claims he knows about her sister's disappearance twenty years prior.

Elisabeth has been haunted all those years about the loss of her sister, a cold case by now. So, when Alfred tells her he wants three things from her in exchange for information leading to the whereabouts of her sister, she begins visiting him at the prison wresting with her good conscience.

In the meantime, her home life is breaking down more than where it was already heading. With Elisabeth's daughter starting to act out, she is walking a narrow line between investigating the past at the cost of keeping her family together.

When one of Alfred's requests is for Elisabeth's daughter to visit him alone at the prison, she stands between the last clue to hold her sister in her arms again and losing her daughter permanently as the plot unfolds into a dangerous game of cat and mouse.


This novel took some twisted turns and the entire time more creepy vibes kept oozing in. Alfred's character is eccentric and portrays a dominance capable of violence and manipulation while cunningly luring his prey into his net. Exactly the kind of character I don't like and my 'stay away' meter is pegged by.

Throughout the story, Elisabeth is having flashbacks from her childhood and her sister's rebellious ways...an aspect that mirrors her daughters' and feeds into the plot along the way. Ultimately, Elisabeth is alone in solving the case as Alfred told her not to go to the police but she did initially anyway. A mistake she pays for later on and from there has to outsmart them all. The way this novel ended is my favorite part.

If you enjoy plots based on twisted mind games, then this might be your book. If domestic violence is a trigger for you, then keep in mind that it has a bit of that vibe and an unexpected scene of 'controlling' violently in it. I am very sensitive to this matter myself, but I was ok to read through it and I ultimately really liked this novel for being quite different.

Happy Reading!

I received an arc of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are my own. Thank you so much.

More of my reviews here:
Through Novel Time & Distance
December 7, 2019
Elisabeth Pfautz is isolated in a small town in Alaska in 1941.  She spends her days teaching her young daughter at home and tiptoes around her husband John who is often gone.
At night, she's haunted by dreams of her twin sister, Jacqueline, who disappeared twenty years ago.  Struggling with loneliness and an unhappy marriage, Elisabeth holds on to the belief that her sister is still alive and she'll find her some day.

There is a routine to life in a small town and it is upended when a German pilot arrives to deliver the mail and murders a local man.
The man is Alfred Seidel and he wants to speak to Elisabeth before he'll discuss his crime.
Alfred claims he knows what happened to Jacqueline; that she is, in fact, alive and well.  Alfred is admittedly enamored with Elisabeth and wants to keep her attention as long as possible but promises he'll lead her to her sister if she'll fulfill three requests.

Elisabeth's hope of finding Jacqueline turns to obsession as her neighbors place some blame on her for the death of one of their own.  When John is offered a teaching position in a less isolated area of Alaska, the family finds themselves closer to the prison where Alfred Seidel is being held.

An uneasy game begins between Elisabeth and Alfred as each tries to win the upper hand.  Elisabeth uses Alfred's obsession with her to her advantage while Alfred uses Elisabeth's obsession with her sister to his.

As Elizabeth begins to fulfill Alfred's requests, readers see her willingness to sacrifice everything to learn the truth.  How far will she go?  Is this even a game she can win?

How Quickly She Disappears is a fantastic mystery/thriller told in alternating time periods.  We learn pieces of the puzzle leading up to Jacqueline's disappearance in the past and watch Elisabeth spiral toward the truth in the present.
The tension between Elisabeth and Alfred is odd and often palpabale at times.  The atmosphere and isolation of Alaska play an impressive role.  The mystery had me completely involved in finding the truth.  Elisabeth's character arc is dramatic.

I'm reading a lot of mixed reviews on this debut novel and the trending negative seems to be that Elisabeth goes from a woman devoted to her daughter and attempting to make her marriage work but by the end of the book she seems to have lost herself completely.  This is actually what I appreciated about the book!  I love that we meet a woman isolated from the world and see what she focuses on in that isolation while learning about her internal struggles.  Then we see who she develops into when the possibility of changing her situation occurs.

If you enjoy atmospheric thrillers with a game of cat and mouse, this is one worth picking up!

Thanks to Berkley and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.  How Quickly She Disappears is scheduled for release on January 14, 2020.

For more reviews, visit www.rootsandreads.wordpress.com
Profile Image for PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps .
2,304 reviews220 followers
June 5, 2019
Penguin’s First to Read program is shutting down and HOW QUICKLY SHE DISAPPEARS by Raymond Flemischmann seemed like the most interesting, though I could have chosen all of the books for all the points I accumulated. I wouldn’t have chosen HOW QUICKLY SHE DISAPPEARS if I had read closer to see this was historical fiction. I especially wouldn’t have chosen this novel if I knew the ending was incomplete and a set up for a sequel.

HOW QUICKLY SHE DISAPPEARS may be a case of it’s not you, it’s me, because other people enjoyed it more than me. I found the plot slow and the characters didn’t engage me.
Profile Image for Julie (JuJu).
610 reviews190 followers
January 27, 2020
I have to admit, this book was chosen purely by the beautiful cover. I love being surprised when I read a book. Sometimes it works out...and sometimes it doesn’t...but it’s exciting to start a book with no expectations!

The setting for this one was fabulous. Alaska in 1941 didn’t sound like anyplace I’d like to live, but it was interesting to read about! And the small bits about the native Athabaskans was fascinating. Unfortunately, not much more of the book really excited me.

I did love how young Jacqueline was described. Feisty, fun, adventurous, exciting...nothing like her wise and practical twin sister Elisabeth.

There were parts of the book that started to get my attention, then there lulls, so it was up and down quite a bit. It bounced around between past and present, but not in a straight-forward way, at times.

Elisabeth, and the wreckage she managed to make of her life, became frustrating and predictable. Overall, the book was just an ok read, and felt longer than it’s 320 pages.

Thank you to NetGalley / Berkley / the Author for this digital ARC, in exchange for my honest review!
#HowQuicklySheDisappears #NetGalley

My Rating: 3 ⭐️
Published: January 14th 2020 by Berkley
Pages: 320

Recommend: Not sure
Profile Image for Dennis.
774 reviews1,471 followers
October 4, 2019
I won't go into major detail on why this book didn't work for me, but it just didn't keep me engaged for that long. It's very original and definitely has Silence of the Lambs type of vibes, but it just didn't capture my attention as much as I hoped it would be. However, kudos to the author for originality.
Profile Image for Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews.
1,053 reviews1,375 followers
January 14, 2020
Living in Alaska was isolation enough, but having a total stranger show up one day and tell you that he knows where your sister who disappeared twenty years ago is was unreal.

Elisabeth and her sister Jacqueline tell their tale in alternating chapters of when they were children together and then today where Elisabeth tells her tale of being alone and without her sister even though she has a husband and daughter. She never got over losing her sister.

Looking for her sister for twenty years was an obsession for Elisabeth and also someone else.

Her sister Jacqueline went missing when they were young and was never found. The news this stranger had was unbelievable.

Could Elisabeth believe this stranger when he had just killed a man?

Could Alfred be the man who took Jacqueline?

Could Alfred be the man who lured Jacqueline with his gifts of money and travel tickets?

Could Elisabeth really be wasting her precious time with her daughter and husband while looking for clues and listening to Alfred's story that he knows where Jacqueline is as he drew her into his schemes and away from her family?

Elisabeth made me nervous with her obsession with Alfred and how she was pulled into what he asked her to do to find her sister. Alfred was a manipulator.

Someone was hiding something, and Elisabeth seemed to be ruining her life for something she really wasn't sure of.

HOW QUICKLY SHE DISAPPEARS was very well written with words that pulled you in and that had a gripping, mesmerizing, menacing tone.

HOW QUICKLY SHE DISAPPEARS will be enjoyed by historical fiction and mystery fans, readers who like secrets, readers who enjoy not really knowing the background of the characters and what makes them "tick," and trying to figure it all out.

Will you be able to figure it all out?

Will you be able to handle the tension?

Will you be able to stop turning the pages? 5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Darinda.
8,046 reviews144 followers
January 10, 2020
Elisabeth Pfautz lives in a small Alaskan town with her husband and daughter. While her husband is away on business, a stranger, Alfred Seidel, arrives in town and needs somewhere to stay. The Pfautz home is the place where locals direct someone in need of a room for a night or two, and Elisabeth reluctantly agrees that the man can stay there. Shortly after his arrival, he kills a local man. While in jail, Alfred wants to speak with Elisabeth, and only Elisabeth. To convince her to help him, he says he knows what happened to Elisabeth's sister, Jacqueline. Twenty years earlier, Jacqueline disappeared, and Elisabeth is consumed by her need to find out what happened to her sister.

The remote setting is fantastic. It really sets the tone for a moody and somewhat depressing read. The characters are intriguing. Elisabeth is lonely, and has never gotten over her sister's disappearance. Even putting herself and her family in danger doesn't hold her back from learning about what happened.

A slow burning and atmospheric mystery. While there were some compelling parts to the novel, I was never fully drawn into the story.

I received a free digital copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
January 23, 2022
How Quickly She Disappears is the debut novel by Raymond Fleischmann and without a doubt, there’s a new author to watch out for. How Quickly She Disappears is compared to The Dry that meets Silence of the Lambs. I have always wondered why the publishers do that you know, some comparisons make absolutely no sense whatsoever, but I realized that it is a surefire way to pique a reader’s interest. Yes, that comparison to the Dry and The Silence of the Lambs had me hooked as both of those books are favorites of mine.

Tanacross, a small settlement in the Alaskan wilds, is a place of unforgiving brutality, a place that would eat you alive. It is to this desolate place that Elisabeth has escaped to with her husband John and her daughter Margaret. 20 years before, Elisabeth had lost her sister, her twin, the part of her soul when Jacqueline vanished without a trace at 11 years of age. Elisabeth knows in her heart that her sister is alive in a way that only a twin would know but has lived with the grief of loss for many years. Her marriage is crumbling but teaching her daughter and the hope of one day reuniting with her sister is what keeps Elisabeth going.

It is to this bleak existence that a stranger comes knocking. Alfred Seidel is the creepy and weird guest that Elisabeth barely tolerates but within a matter of a day, he’s killed Mack, Elisabeth’s friend, and claims to know the truth of Jacqueline’s disappearance. But to divulge the details, Alfred has many demands to be met by Elisabeth. Thus, begins the dangerous game between a lonely soul and a brooding and freaky madman.

The story certainly begins well. The stark and grim atmosphere of the Alaskan bush and the loneliness endured by Elisabeth makes for a very intense read. The tension seeps thru the pages knowing the treacherous game that Elisabeth is involved in to finally know something about her sister. Of course, Elisabeth has to pay dearly before her wish is granted leading to a chilling and harrowing climax. The tempo of the story kind of fizzles out from around the middle and becomes a trifle tedious by the end. The characters also fail to instill any warmth but it is clear that the author has promise as the atmospheric menace created in the story was exceptional and potent. It is probably for this reason that the book has been compared to the DRY and Silence of the Lambs.

Superb Debut!
Profile Image for Mackey.
1,055 reviews364 followers
February 12, 2020
Set in the early 1940s in a sparsely populated area of Alaska, How Quickly She Disappears is an atmospheric, suspenseful tale that is dark, gritty and psychologically taut.

Twenty years ago, Elizabeth’s sister disappeared. It changed Elizabeth’s life irreparably. Not a day passes when she doesn’t think about Jacqueline and wonder if she is still alive and, if so, where she might be. Living in a remote area of Alaska, Elizabeth struggles with her loveless marriage and extremely brilliant daughter who she loves more than life itself and who reminds her of Jacqueline. When I strange man suddenly appears in their village, Elizabeth’s world is turned upside down when the man murders her friend and then, when in custody, proclaims that he knows where Jacqueline is. However, in return for the information, Elizabeth must do three things for this killer. How far is she willing to go to find answers?

Ironically enough, my family actually has had someone vanish into thin air. While she was no one’s favorite person, except her daughter’s, her disappearance left an unusual hole in the lives of all those who knew her. From that perspective I completely understood what Elizabeth have been feeling when this monster told her he had information about her sister. However, the plausibility of the remainder of the plot was filled with too many holes and inconsistencies.

How Quickly She Disappears was, at once, one of the best atmospheric books I’ve read in a long time and also one of the most unbelievable. This is where I have struggled with reviewing the book. I both loved it and disliked it. I wanted more than it was offering, while I also relished the beauty of the prose. I think this is a book that readers will either love or hate. Into which category will you fall?
Profile Image for Carrie (brightbeautifulthings).
826 reviews30 followers
June 22, 2019
I received a free e-ARC through First to Read from the publishers at Penguin Random House. Trigger warnings: death, pedophilia, rape, kidnapping, body horror, amputation, violence, assault, blood, guns, hospitals.

In 1941, Elisabeth lives in a small town in Alaska with her husband and daughter. Their lives are simple, her husband running the local school while she tutors Margaret. Many years ago, Elisabeth's twin sister, Jacqueline, was abducted by a man she thought was her friend. Though she was never found, Elisabeth is haunted by dreams and an unfounded certainty that she's still alive. Her world is overturned when Alfred Seidel arrives in their small town and murders a local man in cold blood. He claims to know who stole Jacqueline away and where she is now. He'll even tell her, in exchange for three favors. As Elisabeth spirals deeper into Alfred's mind games, her grip on her ordinary life begins to slip. What would she risk to see her sister again? If the answer is anything, will she be able to live with herself when it's through?

It's possible I don't have the right temperament for thrillers. I keep picking them up for their interesting premises and finding myself utterly bored. At this point, I can't tell if it's a lack of tension-building or if I'm just not invested enough to pick up on the tension, but it seems like nothing much happens in this book. I was interested at the beginning, and Fleischmann does a nice job establishing Elisabeth's character and family life, and an even better job with the setting. The small Alaskan town feels real enough to step into, encroached on all sides by the bitterly cold wilderness. The sense of isolation is tangible, and it only increases as Alfred's games cut Elisabeth off from her family.

Part of the problem is that those bonds don’t feel real enough to begin with. We never see Elisabeth on-page with her husband before the drama begins, so it's not that surprising when he fails to take her side. She has no friends. Her relationship with Margaret is unfathomable; they go from loving to apocalyptic and back in no time at all and for no apparent reason. Her strongest relationship is with her twin, told in flashback scenes in the second person (which I hate fiercely and irrationally). Unfortunately, I just wasn't as interested in Jacqueline's disappearance as Elisabeth was, so all those sections dragged for me.

The premise makes Elisabeth and Alfred's relationship sound like a Hannibal and Clarice situation, but I was bored through all their exchanges. Alfred is no Hannibal; he's just a pathetic pedophile with a tenuous grasp on reality. If Alfred is no Hannibal, then Elisabeth is certainly no Clarice. I was with her through most of the book, playing Alfred's game to get information about her sister, but she lost all my sympathy when she was willing to bring her daughter into it. She even has the audacity to be shocked when things turn out the way they do. The ending spirals into silliness, the Alaskan wilderness more of a threat than Alfred ever could be, and even the hand-waving doesn’t settle the plot to satisfaction. I don't know if it's left open for a sequel or not, but I won't be picking it up.

I review regularly at brightbeautifulthings.tumblr.com.
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