Book Reviews

Make Me Disappear by Jessica Payne – Book Review

The book cover of Make Me Disappear by Jessica Payne

Warning – possible spoilers! (Tiny ones, though, and I’ll try to avoid even those; I swear I’ll give my best not to ruin it for you… :-))

Make Me Disappear by Jessica Payne – Book Details

TITLE – Make Me Disappear

AUTHOR – Jessica Payne

GENREmystery, thriller, debut

YEAR PUBLISHED – 2022

PAGE COUNT – 381

MY RATING – 3.5 of 5

RATED ON GOODREADS – 4.38  of 5

A huge thank you to Bookouture and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of Make Me Disappear by Jessica Payne in exchange for an honest review.

What It Is About

I’m glad you will survive this. I screwed up, too. But Noelle, this was your fault. […] If you had stayed beside me where you belong. If you hadn’t insisted on going to grab coffee. […] I’ll have to watch you more closely from now on.

Noelle has spent over a year in an abusive relationship. Daniel has no intention of letting her go, but she has a plan.

She arranges her fake kidnapping, hoping to disappear before anyone figures out what really happened. But things take a terrible turn, one Noelle couldn’t possibly had predicted.

Make Me Disappear by Jessica Payne – My Review

The steel teeth of the key digs into the paint job
[…]
I take a moment to savor it, to examine my love note etched into his carmine-red special upgrade paint.
Dear Daniel, consider this a parting gift for all the pain and suffering.
[…]
And death. Don’t forget the death.

If I had to choose, I’d say I am more a mystery than a thriller girl. Though the two have similarities and often go hand in hand, there are many distinct differences between them. And all in all, I enjoy more the Agatha Christie style, let’s-solve-this-puzzle-together type of stories than you-better-run-bitch thrillers.

But every now and then, all I want from life is a couple of hours for myself in my comfy reading chair, with a cup of creamy coffee and an intense, dark and twisted book that can make my heart race. The description of Make Me Disappear sounded like just the book for the job.

That’s not to say I knew exactly what to expect, as Make Me Disappear is Jessica Payne’s debut novel. But, like with all new to me authors, I approached with cautious optimism.

There are rules to survival: Always agree with him. Never stop smiling. Don’t mention anyone you care about— anyone—because they might become his next victim.

Well. The book had its ups and downs. This would be at least a solid four stars if the book ended as strongly as it started.

Because the beginning was really good. The writing, the pacing, the setup, the engagement level… It all made me think this might even end up one of my favorite thrillers.

The storyline was quite original, compared to the thrillers I’ve read before. And the writing style was simple and efficient, there’s really not much I would change.

But at some point everything, including the quality, unfortunately, started to decline.

There are three cameras in your apartment—your living room, your kitchen, your bedroom. Out of concern for your privacy, I didn’t put one in your bathroom.

I am not going to mention anything specific because I don’t want to spoil the book for anybody. (I added a spoiler section at the end of this review, if you want to check it out.)

But there were a few instances that just shouldn’t have happened. And what’s bugging me the most is that they were all easily avoidable.

For starters, there were a few things that weren’t exactly great, but they are so common in thrillers, they are not even lowering my rating anymore. For example, a huge part of the revelation was oh-so-painfully obvious from the start.

Also, the story was a bit safe, there were definitely opportunities to make things more nail-biting exciting. If we didn’t get to see Daniel’s POV, I think the book would have been more thrilling.

And the whole thing was a little naive in terms of consequences.

I bring up the video feed, but you’re not home yet. Did you have a stop to make? Where? Why didn’t you mention it? […] I’m concerned, but I’ll give you another minute before I check your location.

But to me, the absolute worst thing about this whole book was the blurb. And I really wish I hadn’t read it.

Because the description – it sounded so good, so juicy and twisted and sickly delicious! But reading it now, it feels as if it’s talking about some other book. Make Me Disappear definitely didn’t step up to the promise.

I still enjoyed this book for the most chunk and I had a good enough time with it. But between the overpromising blurb and the piling instances that made me roll my eyes, I also finished the book a little bit disappointed.

However, I would definitely give this author another chance. There were several great elements about her writing that make me think her future work might be more my thing.

This isn’t the way I planned to bind you to me. […] I merely wanted to put a ring on your finger. To hear you utter from your lips, “In sickness and health, to love, cherish, and to obey…” Obey. If only you’d obeyed, Noelle.

What I didn’t like about Make Me Disappear by Jessica Payne (spoilers ahead!)

Not that these are some huge spoilers (except for one), but I’d hated it if someone told me about them before I read the book.

And usually, I don’t do spoiler sections, but I feel like I have to mention at least some of the things that felt like screeching nails over a chalkboard. So, if you want to get into this book knowing nothing, now’s the time to say goodbye. And maybe come back once you’ve finished it 😁.

If you’ve already read the book or you don’t really care about spoilers (which – I mean, ok, but you do you), then here’s a quick summary of the things that were driving me up the wall the most:

  • I was sure Daniel was going to be one of those charming but undoubtedly dangerous villains that you’d shoot no doubt if you had a chance, but still can’t stop thinking about. But he went from a deliciously sociopathic gem of a character to a spoiled, weak mama’s boy in a record time.
  • Jack – another character I thought might put the whole book on fire. But if there ever was a spineless criminal. A total puppet, just waiting for Noelle to say ‘We need to do something.’ so that he can reply ‘What do you want us to do?’ Cause that’s exactly what criminals are like.
  • Kari and the whole pregnancy thing – I don’t even know what bothered me about it the most (cause there were several things that were just – no). But in the end, I guess the fact it all just felt so unconvincing to me.
  • Several illogical instances, but especially the one towards the end. The big confrontation scene. When Eve has a gun. And Daniel is losing it because he’s just found out what was really going on. That’s the moment when Noelle decides to casually send all the evidence from Daniel’s computer to the cups! And Daniel and Eve don’t even notice her! Seriously?
  • A thriller equivalent of the miscommunication trope.

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